|THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE
AND MAXIMUM PARCEL LEVEL
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Two more abbreviations that can be seen to the right of Skew-T's on the web are the
EL and the
MPL. The EL
(equilibrium level) is the pressure level that is at the top of the positive
CAPE area. This is the point
at which a rising parcel that is warmer than the environmental temperature becomes equal to the environmental
temperature. It is often near the
The MPL (maximum parcel level) is the pressure level a rising parcel will move to after its upward momentum
has ceased. Once a parcel reaches the EL it still has upward momentum. Above the EL, the parcel will gradually
slow down since it is cooler than the environment and then stop at the MPL. The MPL is always higher in the
atmosphere than the EL. The larger the CAPE is below the EL, the higher the MPL will be above the EL.
Updrafts of over 100 miles per hour will often penetrate into the lower stratosphere.