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Journal Article

Pair correlations and spatial statistics of deep convection over the Tropical Atlantic


Brueck,  Matthias
Hans Ertel Research Group Clouds and Convection, The Atmosphere in the Earth System, MPI for Meteorology, Max Planck Society;

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Senf, F., Brueck, M., & Klocke, D. (in press). Pair correlations and spatial statistics of deep convection over the Tropical Atlantic. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, early online release. doi:10.1175/JAS-D-18-0326.1.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-80B4-F
Over the tropical oceans, the large-scale, meridional circulation drives the accumulation of moist and warm air, leading to a relatively narrow, convectively active band. Therein, deep moist convection interacts with its heterogeneous environment - the intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) - and organizes into multi-scale structures that strongly impact the Earth’s hydrological cycle and radiation budget. Understanding the spatial correlations and interactions among deep convective clouds is important, but challenging. These clouds are investigated in this study with the help of large-domain, storm-resolving simulations over the tropical Atlantic. Based on vertically-integrated mass flux fields, deep convective updraft cells are identified with object-based techniques and analyzed with respect to their structural behavior and spatial arrangement. The pair-correlation method, which compares simulated pair numbers as a function of pair distance to an appropriately chosen references, is applied and extended to allow for spatial statistics in an heterogeneous environment - i.e. the ITCZ. Based on pair-correlation analysis, the average probability is enhanced to find an updraft cell pair within 100 km compared to a random distribution. Additionally, the spatial arrangement of larger or stronger cells deviates more from randomness compared to smaller or weaker cells which might be related to their stronger dynamical interaction mechanisms. Using simplified equilibrium statistics of interacting cells, several spatial characteristics of the storm-resolving simulations can be reproduced.