A brief review of the classical theory for convective instability is presented, with primary emphasis on the more recent theoretical and experimental findings that pertain to mesoscale cellular convection in the atmosphere. Important physical and geometrical features of three-dimensional patterns of free convection commonly observed over the oceans are discussed, especially those features that point to distinct differences when compared to laboratory convection. Some suggestions for future study are offered with particular reference to the AMTEX program being planned by the Japanese Committee for GARP.

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Footnotes

1 Present affiliation with the Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University.