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Classification of precipitation events with a convective response timescale and their forecasting characteristics

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Abstract

[1] The convective timescale τc, which is mainly determined by the ratio of CAPE and precipitation rate, provides a physically-based measure to distinguish equilibrium and non-equilibrium convection. A statistical analysis of this timescale, based upon observational data from radiosonde ascents, rain gauges, and radar for seven warm seasons in Germany, reveals that the equilibrium and non-equilibrium regimes can be regarded as extremes of a continuous distribution. The two regimes characterize very different interactions between the large-scale flow and convection. The quality of precipitation forecasts from a non-hydrostatic regional weather prediction model with parameterized convection differs substantially for the two regimes, with strong overestimations and too large precipitation objects for the non-equilibrium events.

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