There is no consensus on the physical mechanisms controlling the scale at which convective activity organizes near the Equator. Here, we introduce a diagnostic framework relating the evolution of the length‐scale of convective aggregation to the net radiative heating, the surface enthalpy flux, and horizontal energy transport. We evaluate these expansion tendencies of convective aggregation in 20 high‐resolution cloud‐permitting simulations of radiative‐convective equilibrium. While both radiative fluxes contribute to convective aggregation, the net long‐wave radiative flux operates at large scales (1,000–5,000 km) and stretches the size of moist and dry regions, while the net short‐wave flux operates at smaller scales (500–2,000 km) and shrinks it. The surface flux expansion tendency is dominated by convective gustiness, which acts to aggregate convective activity at smaller scales (500–3,000 km).
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.