A Multicloud Model for Coastal Convection Academic Article uri icon


  • Coastal convection is often organized into multiple mesoscale systems that propagate in either direction across the coastline (i.e., landward and oceanward). These systems interact non-trivially with synoptic and intraseasonal disturbances such as convectively coupled waves and the MaddenJulian oscillation. Despite numerous theoretical and observational efforts to understand coastal convection, global climate models still fail to represent it adequately, mainly because of limitations in spatial resolution and shortcomings in the underlying cumulus parameterization schemes. Here, we use a simplified climate model of intermediate complexity to simulate coastal convection under the influence of the diurnal cycle of solar heating. Convection is parameterized via a stochastic multicloud model (SMCM), which mimics the subgrid dynamics of organized convection due to interactions (through the environment) between the cloud types that characterize organized tropical convection. Numerical results demonstrate that the model is able to capture the key modes of coastal convection variability, such as the diurnal cycle of convection and the accompanying sea and land breeze reversals, the slowly propagating mesoscale convective systems that move from land to ocean and vice-versa, and numerous moisture-coupled gravity wave modes. The physical features of the simulated modes, such as their propagation speeds, the timing of rainfall peaks, the penetration of the sea and land breezes, and how they are affected by the latitudinal variation in the Coriolis force, are generally consistent with existing theoretical and observational studies.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Dah, A., Khouider, B., & Schumacher, C.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • 2023