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Open AccessArticle

Observational Evidence of the Transition from Shallow to Deep Convection in the Western Caribbean Trade Winds

by Yanet Díaz-Esteban 1,*,†,‡ and Graciela B. Raga 2,‡
1
Posgrado en Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México 04510, Mexico
2
Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México 04510, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Av. Universidad 3000, Circuito Exterior S/N Delegación Coyoacán, C.P. l04510 Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City 04510, Mexico.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(11), 700; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10110700
Received: 18 September 2019 / Revised: 4 October 2019 / Accepted: 6 October 2019 / Published: 13 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Central America and Caribbean Hydrometeorology and Hydroclimate)
The present study aims to determine the factors influencing the transition from shallow to deep convection in the trade winds region using an observational approach, with emphasis in the Yucatan Peninsula in eastern Mexico. The methodology is based on a discrimination of two regimes of convection: a shallow cumulus regime, usually with little or no precipitation associated, and an afternoon deep convection regime, with large amounts of precipitation, preceded by a short period of shallow convection. Then, composites of meteorological fields at surface and several vertical levels, for each of the two convection regimes, are compared to infer which meteorological factors are involved in the development of deep convection in this region. Also, the relationship between meteorological variables and selected regime-transition parameters is evaluated only for deep convection regime days. Results indicate the importance of dynamic factors, such as the meridional wind component, in the transition from shallow to deep convection. As expected, thermodynamic variables, such as the low-level specific humidity in the shallow cumulus layer, also contribute to the regime transition. The presence of a southerly component of wind at low- to mid-levels during the early morning in deep convection days provides the shallow cumulus with a more favorable environment so that transition can occur, since abundant moisture from the Caribbean is supplied through this prevailing southern wind. The results can be relevant for reducing uncertainties regarding some important parameters in global and regional models, which could lead to improved simulations of the transition from shallow to deep convection and precipitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: convective regimes; transition from shallow to deep convection; trade winds; western Caribbean convective regimes; transition from shallow to deep convection; trade winds; western Caribbean
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MDPI and ACS Style

Díaz-Esteban, Y.; Raga, G.B. Observational Evidence of the Transition from Shallow to Deep Convection in the Western Caribbean Trade Winds. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 700.

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