Calculation of Convection Parameters over Europe for 15th August 2008


A bunch of convection parameters are calculated for the 15th August 2008 based on CFSR 3hr forecasts. In order to get an idea of how they do, they are visually compared to observed lightning strokes within one hour before and after the CFSR forecast time.


A detailed analysis of the weather of this day (and others) can be found in the diploma thesis of Helge Tushy.


A description of the parameters is provided here.


I had no time for an analysis of the results but want to share the images and leave it to a possible reader (viewer that means) to be impressed by some results and disappointed by others. The 8 images of each parameter are combined to an animated gif.


The parameters come in 5 groups. Locations of lightning strokes are shown as pink dots.


Temperature-based Indices

Lapse rate 0m to 500m

Lapse rate 2km to 4km

Vertical Totals

Boyden Index




Temperature and Humidity based Indices

Cross Totals

Total Totals

Modified Total Totals

K Index

Modified K Index

Humidity Index

S Index

Rackliff Index

Modified Jefferson Index

Adedokun Index

Potential Instability Index

Ko Index

Convective Instability Index

Lifted Index

Showalter Index

Deep Convection Index

Thomson Index

Theta_E Index

Yonetani Index




Wind-related Parameters

Hodograph Length 0 to 3km

Hodograph Length 0 to 6km

Vertical Shear Boundary Layer to 6km

Vertical Shear Surface to 1km

Vertical Shear Surface to 3km

Vertical Shear Surface to 6km

Effective Bulk Shear (LPL to EL)

Storm Relative Wind Surface to 2km

Storm Relative Wind 4km to 6km

Storm Relative Wind 9km to 11km

Storm Relative Helicity

Vorticity Generating Parameter



Advanced Parameters

Energy Index

Lifted Condensation Level (LCL)

Mixed-Layer Lifted Condensation Level

Level of Free Convection (LFC)

Equilibrium Level (EL)



Surface-Based Convective Available Potential Energy (SBCAPE)

Normalized CAPE

Mixed Layer CAPE

Maximum Unstable CAPE

3km CAPE

Convective Inhibition

Upward Vertical Velocity

Lifted Parcel Level

Wet Bulb Zero Level

Craven Parameter

Energy Helicity Index

Enhanced Stretching Potential

Bulk Richardson Number



Thematic Parameters

Severe Weather Threat Index (SWEAT)

Downdraft CAPE

Supercell Composite Parameter

Significant Tornado Parameter V1

Significant Tornado Parameter V2

Significant Hail Parameter (SHIP)

Derecho Composite Parameter