The problem of forecasting convective precipitation is important because of the increasing amounts of damage being caused by flooding, and also the winds associated with the storms. A number of storms have recently caused substantial flooding and other damage in the UK and other parts of Europe. Convection plays an important part in many flood situations, especially flash floods.
There are three key aspects of convective initiation:
- What are the localized perturbations in the boundary layer that trigger new convective cells?
- What are the mesoscale forcing processes in the troposphere that create regions sensitive to triggering?
- How do local modifications of the atmosphere by previous convective cells influence or even dominate over the other perturbations?
This PhD thesis is focused on the better understanding, identification and quantification of the mechanisms responsible for the initiation of precipitating convection. In addition to the fundamental need to characterize the physical processes responsible for convective initiation, I will approach the important problem of how to represent these processes in models.