Distinguishing between unorganized and organized convection when examining land-atmosphere relationships

Jessica K. Wang, Trent W. Ford, Steven M. Quiring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, the robustness of a previously developed classification system that categorizes convective thunderstorm events initiated during various synoptic and dynamic conditions is analyzed. This classification system was used to distinguish between organized and unorganized convection and then used to determine whether unorganized convection occurs preferentially over wet or dry soils. The focus is on 12 events that occurred in synoptically benign (SB) environments where the Great Plains low-level jet was not present (noLLJ), and whether these events were accurately classified as unorganized convection is evaluated. Although there is a small sample size, the results show that the classification system fails to differentiate between local unorganized convection and large-scale organized convection under SB-noLLJ conditions. The authors conclude that past studies that have used this classification to study how soil moisture influences unorganized convection should be revisited. Additional variables and/or alternative precipitation datasets should be employed to enhance the robustness of the classification system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2229-2243
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmosphere-land interaction
  • Convective storms
  • Soil moisture
  • Surface fluxes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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