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Spanish Plume

Bible DictionaryMeteorology & Weather Dictionary
A catchy name applied to what is in reality quite a complex process producing the conditions necessary for severe local storms over maritime N.W. Europe. Strictly, the 'spanish plume' is the warm/dry ex-Saharan air, that has passed over the Iberian peninsula; been lifted by forced ascent (due to near-jet level forcing), cooling and moistening and producing outbreaks of thundery rain from medium level cloud. Initially providing a 'lid' (see 'loaded gun') which inhibits deep/vigorous convection, its breakdown allows the sudden release of potential instability, with the fuel for the subsequent severe storms being provided by air of a high theta-W value often running in from the SSE. Thunderstorms, often severe, are most likely within the tongue of highest theta-W air (> 18 degC or so), and where there are low-level forcing agents: e.g. isobaric troughing, sea breezes, coastal convergence etc.
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