Level of free convection

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level of free convection

(Abbreviated LFC.) The level at which a parcel of air lifted dry-adiabatically until saturated and saturation-adiabatically thereafter would first become warmer than its surroundings in a conditionally unstable atmosphere.

On a thermodynamic diagram the level of free convection is given by the point of intersection of the process curve, representing the process followed by the ascending parcel, and the sounding curve, representing the lapse rate of temperature in the environment. From the level of free convection to the point where the ascending parcel again becomes colder than its surroundings the atmosphere is characterized by latent instability. Throughout this region the parcel will gain kinetic energy as it rises.
See conditional instability, convective condensation level;
compare level of free sink.