Examining increasing potential for storms with global warming

October 9, 2013

Increases in convective available potential energy (CAPE)—the energy available to a parcel of air as it rises through a cloud that is warmer than its surroundings, causing it to rise—may increase the potential for severe storms. Model simulations have shown that global warming will increase CAPE in the tropics, but scientists do not fully understand why this occurs or what the implications may be for future precipitation intensity.

Providing a step toward better understanding of CAPE, Singh and O'Gorman show that the increase in tropical CAPE with warming occurs over a wide range of temperatures in simulations with different atmospheric .

Based on their simulations and radiosonde observations from the tropical western Pacific, the authors developed a simple model in which mixing of the surrounding dry air into the cloud reduces cloud buoyancy more in warmer atmospheres. They show that this model can account for the increase in CAPE with warming, suggesting that changes in CAPE may not necessarily reflect changes in cloud buoyancy and hence storm intensity.

Explore further: Study estimates rate of intensification of extreme tropical rainfall with global warming

More information: Singh, M. and O'Gorman, P. Influence of entrainment on the thermal stratification in simulations of radiative-convective equilibrium, Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1002/grl.50796, 2013 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50796/abstract

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runrig
5 / 5 (9) Oct 09, 2013
Increased CAPE is bound to increase the severity of storms (single or multiple Cb cloud development). That's the definition of the acronym. The potentially available energy bit. Convective cloud also entrains drier air within it as it rises. But you can have a situation (often actually) where mass descent of the atmosphere above - usually in regions of jet exit convergence (hence descending air and divergence below). There may be a layer of dry air in the mid-tropopause but this could actually cause the storm to develop further as dry air as it ascends cools at a faster rate and so the environmental air above the cloud will maintain or increase the ▲T between cloud top and atmosphere. The situation is also different at night as the cloud top is cooling, so making the cloud internally more unstable They may be saying that more vigorous convective updrafts cause more entrainment or that the humidity differential is greater (drier air around the cloud).
cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (21) Oct 09, 2013
The stratified sky is falling, the stratified sky is falling!
Water_Prophet
1.3 / 5 (16) Oct 09, 2013
As anyone with a mind and no model can easily prophesize. And anyone with a TV can have easily observe.
The sky is falling indeed, and it IS wet.
Those that have eyes, let them see, those that have minds, PLEASE let them think!
Neinsense99
3.1 / 5 (11) Oct 10, 2013
The stratified sky is falling, the stratified sky is falling!

The repetitive sheep is bleating. Baaaa...
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (14) Oct 10, 2013
The stratified sky is falling, the stratified sky is falling!

The repetitive sheep is bleating. Baaaa...

Nope, I have an intense distaste for OBAAAAAMA!

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