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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Modes of Vertical Thermodynamic and Wind Variability over the Maritime Continent
Jennie Bukowski1, Derek J. Posselt1, Jeffrey S. Reid2, and Samuel A. Atwood3 1University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
2Marine Meteorology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, CA, USA
3Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
Abstract. The Maritime Content (MC) is an exceedingly complex region, both from the perspective of its meteorology and its aerosol characteristics. Convection in the MC is ubiquitous, and assumes a wide variety of forms under the influence of an evolving large scale dynamic and thermodynamic context. Understanding the interaction between convective systems and their environment, both individually and in the aggregate, requires knowledge of the dominant patterns of spatial and temporal variability. To this end, radiosonde observations from 2008–2016 are examined from three sounding release sites within the MC for the purpose of exploring the dominant vertical temperature, humidity, and wind structures in the region. Principal Component Analysis is applied to the vertical atmospheric column to transform patterns present in radiosonde data into canonical thermodynamic and wind profiles for the MC. Both rotated and non-rotated principal components are considered, and the emerging structure functions reflect the fundamental vertical modes of short-term tropical variability. The results indicate that while there is tremendous spatial and temporal variability across the MC, the primary modes of vertical thermodynamic and wind variability in the region can be represented in a lower-dimensional subspace. In addition, the vertical structures are very similar among different sites around the region, though different structures may manifest more strongly at one location than another. The results indicate that, while very different meteorology may be found in various parts of the MC at any given time, the processes themselves are remarkably consistent. The ability to represent this variability using a limited number of structure functions facilitates analysis of co-variability between atmospheric structure and convective systems, and also enables future systematic model-based ensemble analysis of cloud development, convection, and precipitation over the MC.

Citation: Bukowski, J., Posselt, D. J., Reid, J. S., and Atwood, S. A.: Modes of Vertical Thermodynamic and Wind Variability over the Maritime Continent, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-843, in review, 2016.
Jennie Bukowski et al.
Jennie Bukowski et al.


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Short summary
The Maritime Continent (MC) exhibits tremendous meteorological variability. In this study, multiple years of atmospheric soundings over the MC are analyzed to identify key sources of variability in the region's temperature, water vapor, and wind structure. Coherent vertical structures are found among profiles sampled from different geographic locations. The results indicate that the complex meteorology of the region can be described using a few simple structure functions.
The Maritime Continent (MC) exhibits tremendous meteorological variability. In this study,...