Graphical Abstract

Mapes, B., 2021: Toward form-function relationships for mesoscale structure in convection. J. Meteor. Soc. Japan, 99,
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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.