Plain Language Summary:
Mesoscale patterns are always observed in convective cloud fields. But there is a gap in theory and understanding about whether and how these patterns matter to the larger-scale weather in its entirety. This review essay spotlights that gap, and offers a formal framework for research to address it. Could patterns and textures, detected by imagery artificial intelligence, become a tangible and useful new form of semi-quantitative data? Perhaps, but only if we can better understand what the patterns signify.
- Form and function are defined, and form-function relationships are reviewed, with older science disciplines as models.
- Hypotheses from the literature about how mesoscale patterns affect convection’s impacts and interactions are reviewed.
- A framework for categorizing research approaches is staked out, and scientific gaps and opportunities are highlighted.