This study examines atmospheric structures causing convective development in the events of cloud cluster (CC) over the Korean peninsula using the analysis and forecast data of National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) climate forecast system reanalysis (CFSR) and observation data. Two CC types—CCs associated with meso-α-scale lows (CCMLs) and mesoscale troughs (CCMTs)—were investigated. The common atmospheric structure for convective development in CC events is comprised of i) a strong southwesterly band (SWB; a region with southwesterly wind speeds >12.5 m s−1) in the lower troposphere upstream of CCs with a mesoscale convergence zone in its exit area, ii) a layer of high-θe air in the lower troposphere near the surface extending from the southwest to SWB exit, iii) elevated height of maximum θe in the lower troposphere near and over the convergence zone, above which a convectively unstable layer exists. Generality of the above-described structure has been demonstrated via examination of composite fields. SWB plays a major role in producing the structure for convective development in CC events over the Korean peninsula mainly through i) advection of high-θe air from the southwest, and ii) significant horizontal convergence in the exit area, which can facilitate convection initiation. The two types of CC show notable differences in atmospheric structure across the boundary between high-θe air from the southwest and low-θe air in the northeast and in the mode of high-θe air transport to the region of convective development. The boundary is generally tilted northeastward with height for CCML cases, whereas it is nearly vertical for the majority of CCMT cases. This study indicates that, despite the above-mentioned differences, convective developments in both CC types can be considered as elevated convection that occurs as air parcels in an elevated layer of convective instability are lifted by upward motion in the convergence zone. For both types of CC, differential θe advection plays the key role for the occurrence of elevated layer of convective instability. And θe front in CCML events indicates the presence of elevated convective instability above it and the possibility of elevated convection provided that a lifting mechanism is available.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science