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latent instability
The state of that portion of a conditionally unstable air column lying above the level of free convection; latent instability is released only if an initial impulse on an air parcel gives it sufficient kinetic energy to carry it through the layer below the level of free convection, within which the environment is warmer than the parcel.
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From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Environmental Science.  The Content is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content.  The Work is © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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