conditionally unstable air

Unsaturated air that will become unstable if it becomes saturated. Unstable air rises because its lapse rate is lower than the environmental lapse rate (i.e., it is warmer than the surrounding air).
A parcel of dry air if displaced vertically will tend to become more displaced if saturated, but tends to return to its original level if unsaturated, when the displacing force disappears or is removed.

Aviation dictionary. 2014.

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