Are Upper Tropospheric Moisture Gradients relevant for the Development of Deep Moist Convection?


Thomas Krennert (ZAMG) talks about the importance of moisture gradients in analysing the possibility of development of deep moist convection.


The exact predictability of convection in the Alpine region in the absence of fronts in weak-surface-pressure-gradient-situations during the warm season remains challenging for forecasters. The development into single-cell deep moist convection SC-DMC under these conditions depends on the availability of well-known ingredients like low level moisture, steep tropospheric lapse rates and sufficient lift. Satellite studies have shown that favourable locations for the first onset of SC-DMC resulting from widespread shallow convection over mountainous terrain are water vapour gradients in the middle or upper troposphere UTMG (upper tropospheric moisture gradients, Krennert, et al., 2003, The contributions of the respective ingredients related to UTMG supporting the initiation of DMC are discussed. A focus is set on moist symmetric instability MSI as a possible mechanism for favouring the transition from shallow to deep moist convection.


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