Diagnosis of Vertical Motion from VAS Retrievals

Henry E. Fuelberg Department of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306

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Theodore W. Funk Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63103

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Abstract

Satellite-derived temperature profiles are used to determine if reliable estimates of synoptic-scale vertical motion can be obtained from the adiabatic, vorticity, and omega equation techniques. The period of study contains a short-wave trough over the Midwest and a convective outbreak over the middle Mississippi River Valley. Satellite soundings are available at 1–3 h intervals at five times. The emphasis is on assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the three vertical motion procedures and determining the effects of short-interval observations on the calculations.

Results show that the quasi-geostrophic omega equation provided patterns and magnitudes most consistent with observed weather events and 12 h radiosonde-derived motions. The vorticity method produced less satisfactory results, while adiabatic motions were unacceptable. The time derivative term dominated adiabatic motions and was a major influence in the vorticity method. Unrealistic temperature tendencies resulted from the retrieval algorithm; i.e., a diurnal temperature bias extended upwards to 500 mb, and there was a compensating effect at higher levels.

Abstract

Satellite-derived temperature profiles are used to determine if reliable estimates of synoptic-scale vertical motion can be obtained from the adiabatic, vorticity, and omega equation techniques. The period of study contains a short-wave trough over the Midwest and a convective outbreak over the middle Mississippi River Valley. Satellite soundings are available at 1–3 h intervals at five times. The emphasis is on assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the three vertical motion procedures and determining the effects of short-interval observations on the calculations.

Results show that the quasi-geostrophic omega equation provided patterns and magnitudes most consistent with observed weather events and 12 h radiosonde-derived motions. The vorticity method produced less satisfactory results, while adiabatic motions were unacceptable. The time derivative term dominated adiabatic motions and was a major influence in the vorticity method. Unrealistic temperature tendencies resulted from the retrieval algorithm; i.e., a diurnal temperature bias extended upwards to 500 mb, and there was a compensating effect at higher levels.

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