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StL WeatherJunkie

Divergence/Convergence and Diffluence/Confluence

Question

Terms including divergence/convergence and diffluence/confluence are common meteorological jargon, but what do they mean?

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17 minutes ago, StL WeatherJunkie said:

Terms including divergence/convergence and diffluence/confluence are common meteorological jargon, but what do they mean?

The graphic below depicts the meaning of these terms quite nicely:

5.jpg.deb561e57e55c007cf919f8a8a5f941b.jpg

For divergence, imagine you are driving down a one lane road and the cars ahead are moving faster than you. Thus, traffic is diverging from you. In the atmosphere upper level divergence results in upward motions that often result in precipitation whereas low level divergence often results in sinking air and fair weather. Convergence is precisely the opposite.

Confluence and diffluence are somewhat more complicated because the one lane traffic analogy above doesn't work. Instead, confluence represents 2 lanes narrowing to 1 lane and vice versa for diffluence. Thus, confluence results in 2D convergence and diffluence results in 2D divergence. When applying this information to a specific storm, confluent flow means the storm is moving an increasingly confined space and vice versa for diffluent flow. 

In summary, diffluent flow results in broad scale divergence that is needed for intensifying storm systems. Confluence results in broad scale convergence that generally weakens storm systems.

Edited by StL WeatherJunkie
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