Instantaneous variance scaling of AIRS thermodynamic profiles using a circular...

Dorrestijn, J., B. Kahn, J. Teixeira, F. W. Irion, C. B. H. K. (brian.h.kahn, and (2018), Instantaneous variance scaling of AIRS thermodynamic profiles using a circular area Monte Carlo approach, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 2717-2733, doi:10.5194/amt-11-2717-2018.

Satellite observations are used to obtain vertical profiles of variance scaling of temperature (T ) and specific humidity (q) in the atmosphere. A higher spatial resolution nadir retrieval at 13.5 km complements previous Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) investigations with 45 km resolution retrievals and enables the derivation of power law scaling exponents to length scales as small as 55 km. We introduce a variable-sized circular-area Monte Carlo methodology to compute exponents instantaneously within the swath of AIRS that yields additional insight into scaling behavior. While this method is approximate and some biases are likely to exist within non-Gaussian portions of the satellite observational swaths of T and q, this method enables the estimation of scale-dependent behavior within instantaneous swaths for individual tropical and extratropical systems of interest. Scaling exponents are shown to fluctuate between β = −1 and −3 at scales ≥ 500 km, while at scales ≤ 500 km they are typically near β ≈ −2, with q slightly lower than T at the smallest scales observed. In the extratropics, the large-scale β is near −3. Within the tropics, however, the large-scale β for T is closer to −1 as small-scale moist convective processes dominate. In the tropics, q exhibits large-scale β between −2 and −3. The values of β are generally consistent with previous works of either time-averaged spatial variance estimates, or aircraft observations that require averaging over numerous flight observational segments. The instantaneous variance scaling methodology is relevant for cloud parameterization development and the assessment of time variability of scaling exponents.

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