Stochastic models for convective momentum transport

Andrew J. Majda, Samuel N. Stechmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The improved parameterization of unresolved features of tropical convection is a central challenge in current computer models for long-range ensemble forecasting of weather and short-term climate change. Observations, theory, and detailed smaller-scale numerical simulations suggest that convective momentum transport (CMT) from the unresolved scales to the resolved scales is one of the major deficiencies in contemporary computer models. Here, a combination of mathematical and physical reasoning is utilized to build simple stochastic models that capture the significant intermittent upscale transports of CMT on the large scales due to organized unresolved convection from squall lines. Properties of the stochastic model for CMT are developed below in a test column model environment for the large-scale variables. The effects of CMT from the stochastic model on a large-scale convectively coupled wave in an idealized setting are presented below as a nontrivial test problem. Here, the upscale transports from stochastic effects are significant and even generate a large-scale mean flow which can interact with the convectively coupled wave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17614-17619
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
StatePublished - Nov 18 2008


  • Atmospheric convection parameterization
  • Tropical atmospheric convection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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