Convective inhibition

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convective inhibition

(Abbreviated CIN or CINH.) The energy needed to lift an air parcel upward adiabatically to the lifting condensation level (LCL) and then as a psuedoadiabatic process from the LCL to its level of free convection (LFC).

For an air parcel possessing positive CAPE, the CIN represents the negative area on a thermodynamic diagram. The negative area typically arises from the presence of a lid, or the amount of kinetic energy that must be added to a parcel to enable that parcel to reach the LFC. Even though other factors may be favorable for development of convection, if convective inhibition is sufficiently large, deep convection will not form. The convective inhibition is expressed (analogously to CAPE) as follows:
CIN equation
where pi is the pressure at the level at which the parcel originates, pf is the pressure at the LFC, Rd is the specific gas constant for dry air, Tυp is the virtual temperature of the lifted parcel, and Tυe is the virtual temperature of the environment. It is assumed that the environment is in hydrostatic balance and that the pressure of the parcel is the same as that of the environment. Virtual temperature is used for the parcel and environment to account for the effect of moisture on air density.

Compare convective available potential energy.

Term updated 1 May 2017.