Published: Oct. 12, 2012

Minimal Models for Precipitating Convection

Leslie Smith


Department of Mathematics and Department of Engineering Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison


Date and time: 

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 3:30pm


Minimal models are formulated and explored for precipitating convection in a strongly stratified environment. The first model incorporates fast auto-conversion from cloud water to rain water (denoted FA), and the second model (denoted FARE) further introduces fast condensation and evaporation.  These minimal models should be accessible to the broader
community of mathematicians and fluid dynamicists who might not have access to more comprehensive Cloud Resolving Models (CRMs).
We demonstrate that the models are able to capture coherent structure formation at several different length scales. In a first set of simulations designed to study aspects of tropical cyclogenesis, the FA model captures the formation of so-called vortical hot towers and their merger.  These simulations are able to shed light on how low-altitude vertical shear inhibits the genesis process. With motivation to minimize even more, we show that the FARE model is able to reproduce general features of scattered convection and tropical squall lines. The goal is for such models to provide a bridge between CRMs and theoretical studies, and to inform atmospheric scientists by peeling away complications in order to uncover core dynamics.