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Idealized Mesoscale Convective System Structure and Propagation Using Convective Parameterization


The development and propagation of mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) was examined within the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model using the Kain - Fritsch (KF) cumulus parameterization scheme and a modified version of this scheme. Mechanisms that led to propagation in the parameterized MCS are evaluated and compared between the versions of the KF scheme. Sensitivity to the convective time step is identified and explored for its role in scheme behavior. The sensitivity of parameterized convection propagation to microphysical feedback and to the shape and magnitude of the convective heating profile is also explored. Each version of the KF scheme has a favored calling frequency that alters the scheme's initiation frequency despite using the same convective trigger function. The authors propose that this behavior results in part from interaction with computational damping in WRF. A propagating convective system develops in simulations with both versions, but the typical flow structures are distorted (elevated ascending rear inflow as opposed to a descending rear inflow jet as is typically observed). The shape and magnitude of the heating profile is found to alter the propagation speed appreciably, even more so than the microphysical feedback. Microphysical feedback has a secondary role in producing realistic flow features via the resolvable-scale model microphysics. Deficiencies associated with the schemes are discussed and improvements are proposed.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Fiscal Year
Publication Name
Monthly Weather Review
Published On
July 01, 2008
Publisher Name
Amer Meteorological Soc
Print Volume
Print Number


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Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.

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