Modes of Vertical Thermodynamic and Wind Variability over the
Jennie Bukowski1, Derek J. Posselt1, Jeffrey S. Reid2, and Samuel A. Atwood31University 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
Received: 21 Sep 2016 – Accepted for review: 03 Nov 2016 – Discussion started: 14 Nov 2016
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.
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.