Disclaimer: This material is being kept online for historical purposes. Though accurate at the time of publication, it is no longer being updated. The page may contain broken links or outdated information, and parts may not function in current web browsers. Visit https://espo.nasa.gov for information about our current projects.


Temperature and Water Vapor Variance Scaling in Global Models: Comparisons to...

Kahn, B., J. Teixeira, E. J. Fetzer, A. Gettelman, S. M. Hristova-Veleva, X. Huang, A. K. Kochanski, M. Kohlër, S. K. Krueger, R. Wood, and M. Zhao (2011), Temperature and Water Vapor Variance Scaling in Global Models: Comparisons to Satellite and Aircraft Data, J. Atmos. Sci., 68, 2156-2168, doi:10.1175/2011JAS3737.1.

Observations of the scale dependence of height-resolved temperature T and water vapor q variability are valuable for improved subgrid-scale climate model parameterizations and model evaluation. Variance spectral benchmarks for T and q obtained from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) are compared to those generated by state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction ‘‘analyses’’ and ‘‘free-running’’ climate model simulations with spatial resolution comparable to AIRS. The T and q spectra from both types of models are generally too steep, with small-scale variance up to several factors smaller than AIRS. However, the two model analyses more closely resemble AIRS than the two free-running model simulations. Scaling exponents obtained for AIRS column water vapor (CWV) and height-resolved layers of q are also compared to the superparameterized Community Atmospheric Model (SP-CAM), highlighting large differences in the magnitude of CWV variance and the relative flatness of height-resolved q scaling in SP-CAM. Height-resolved q spectra obtained from aircraft observations during the Variability of the American Monsoon Systems Ocean– Cloud–Atmosphere–Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx) demonstrate changes in scaling exponents that depend on the observations’ proximity to the base of the subsidence inversion with scale breaks that occur at approximately the dominant cloud scale (;10–30 km). This suggests that finer spatial resolution requirements must be considered for future satellite observations of T and q than those currently planned for infrared and microwave satellite sounders.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.