One of the most important datasets to come from the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE) is the most complete, high-resolution upper-air sounding dataset ever collected in the equatorial western Pacific Ocean. The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research/Office of Field Project Support&UCAR/OFPS (recently combined with the UCAR/Joint International Climate Projects Planning Office and renamed the Joint Office for Science Support); was given the responsibility of processing, quality controlling, and archiving the dataset. OFPS, in consultation with the TOGA COARE scientific community, developed a four-stage process to provide the community with a thoroughly quality controlled dataset.

The TOGA COARE sounding dataset includes over 14 000 soundings, collected from 14 countries, in over 20 different original formats. The first OFPS processing step was the conversion of all soundings to a single, easy to use format, the OFPS quality control format. The second stage was a series of automated internal consistency checks on each sounding. This stage was particularly important as it directly led to the improvement of several of the datasets. The third step was a visual examination of each sounding to provide another layer of internal consistency checks, for dewpoint and wind in particular. The final process used spatial quality control checks to put each station into context with its neighboring stations as well as the network as a whole. These checks provided statistics from which both systematic and individual sounding problems could be determined. Finally, some derived sounding parameters such as convective available potential energy (CAPE) were calculated for each sounding. The CAPE calculations provided a quick method to qualitatively examine the high-resolution sounding data for low-level humidity problems. A composite dataset of all soundings at a uniform vertical resolution of 5 hPa was created to provide the community with a sounding dataset that has been found to be useful in certain modeling studies.

The processed TOGA COARE sounding data, as well as statistical output from the OFPS spatial quality control procedures, are available on-line via the Internet using the World Wide Web (WWW) through the OFPS data management system. Access via the WWW allows a full range of on-line data browsing and ordering capabilities.

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*Current affiliation: Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.