400 The Evolution of Latent Heating Profiles in Midlatitude Mesoscale Convective Systems and a Simple Parameterization for Global Models

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Peter J. Marinescu, Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO; and S. C. van den Heever, S. M. Saleeby, and S. M. Kreidenweis

Latent heating profile rates and shapes vary within the different subregions of mesoscale convective systems (MCS), as was first reported by several pioneering studies in the 1970’s and 1980’s by Houze and other scientists. Properly representing latent heating profiles within MCS convective and stratiform regions has been shown to have atmospheric responses from the mesoscale to synoptic and global scales. As such, it is important to consider how latent heating profiles within MCS subregions change with time, especially as the MCS evolves through its life cycle. The goal of this study is to quantify this evolution of latent heating profiles within the subregions of midlatitude MCSs.

Latent heating cannot be directly observed, and even with several assumptions, latent heating estimates from observations have both spatial and temporal limitations. Therefore, cloud-resolving model simulations are often used to provide insights on the structure of latent heating within cloud systems. In this study, two MCS events during the Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) are simulated with the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS). The simulations are partitioned into development, mature, and decay life cycle stages to quantify the evolution of latent heating profiles within the convective, stratiform, and anvil regions of MCSs. Furthermore, simple parameterization efforts are undertaken to demonstrate how this latent heating evolution could be represented in global models, such as general circulation models, which cannot resolve these cloud systems.

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