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Flack, David L. A.; Plant, Robert S.; Gray, Suzanne L.; Lean, Humphrey W.; Keil, Christian and Craig, George C. (2016): Characterisation of convective regimes over the British Isles. In: Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Vol. 142, No. 696: pp. 1541-1553

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Convection-permitting modelling has led to a step change in forecasting convective events. However, convection occurs within different regimes which exhibit different forecast behaviour. A convective adjustment timescale can be used to distinguish between these regimes and examine their associated predictability. The convective adjustment timescale is calculated from radiosonde ascents and found to be consistent with that derived from convection-permitting model forecasts. The model-derived convective adjustment timescale is then examined for three summers in the British Isles to determine characteristics of the convective regimes for this maritime region. Convection in the British Isles is predominantly in convective quasi-equilibrium, with 85% of convection having a timescale less than or equal to 3 h. This percentage varies spatially with more non-equilibrium events occurring in the south and southwest. The convective adjustment timescale exhibits a diurnal cycle over land. The non-equilibrium regime occurs more frequently at mid-range wind speeds and with winds from southerly to westerly sectors. Most non-equilibrium convective events in the British Isles are initiated near large coastal orographic gradients or on the European continent. Thus, the convective adjustment timescale is greatest when the location being examined is immediately downstream of large orographic gradients and decreases with distance from the convective initiation region. The dominance of convective quasi-equilibrium conditions over the British Isles argues for the use of large-member ensembles in probabilistic forecasts for this region.

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