The ESRL website will be unavailable for 24 hours starting Friday, March 6th at 5:00pm MT due to building maintenance.

Mapes, B. E., 1997: Mutual adjustment of mass flux and stratification profiles. In The Physics and Parameterization of Moist Atmospheric Convection, R. K. Smith (Ed.), Kluwer Academic Publishers, 399-411.


Observations indicate that deep convective heating profiles tend to oppose temperature perturbations in the environment. As a result, convection adjusts the stratification toward a preferred moist adiabat. A buoyancy-sorting model of precipitating convection, coupled with a linearized hydrostatic dry dynamics model, illustrates the processes at work. The preferred stratification established by the model convection depends on the treatment of precipitation and ice processes, and especially on the poorly-understood processes that determine mass flux in downdrafts associated with the evaporation of precipitation. These results suggest that observations of mean stratification in convecting regions may contain useful, highly averaged information on hard-to-observe bulk parameters characterizing the ensemble of real convective clouds. Temperature perturbations of <1°C are quite important in this buoyancy-sorting model, suggesting that such stratification observations should be scrutinized to this precision.