Measuring CAPE (instability) in the atmosphere is a very important part of forecasting for severe weather.
CAPE is short for convective available potential energy.
When it comes to tools to know exactly what the atmosphere is planning for the day, there are no better tools than the Skew-T to gauge the exact measure of instability.
In this video, we’ll take a look at how you find SBCAPE, MLCAPE, and MUCAPE on a skew-T and which you should use to make your forecast.
The Differences in CAPE
SBCAPE: This value of CAPE looks at how unstable a parcel of air rising from the surface will be. This value tends to be higher than MLCAPE.
MLCAPE: The best version of CAPE to use most chase days is MLCAPE as it tends to be the most representative of the air a surface or near surface based updraft will be ingesting. The least technical way to describe MLCAPE is that it averages the CAPE values below the cloud base of a storm.
MUCAPE: This measurement finds the most unstable parcel of air possible within a sounding and records that value. Typically, this is most useful when there is a strong surface inversion and thus, storms are likely to be elevated.