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Richard J. Reed and Ernest E. Recker


A compositing technique is used to obtain the average structure of 18 disturbances which traversed an area in the equatorial western Pacific during the wet season (July–September) of 1967. Principal emphasis is placed on the wave properties in the triangular area described by Ponape, Kwajalein and Eniwetok within which it was possible to measure divergence and vertical motion and to compute moisture and heat budgets.

Meridional wind maxima of nearly opposite phase occurred in the lower and upper troposphere. Negative temperature deviations were found in the vicinity of the wave trough at low and high levels; positive deviations were observed at intermediate levels. Highest relative humidities occurred in the trough region. This was also the region of strongest upward motion and greatest rainfall and cloud amount. The maximum upward velocity of 2.5 cm sec−1 was found at 300 mb. Convergence was strongest in the sub-cloud layer; divergence was concentrated near 175 mb. The maximum anticyclonic vorticity was also observed at that level.

The wave structure changed in a systematic fashion across the network. The change is attributed to the variation with longitude of the shear of the basic current.

The rainfall computed from the observed wind and moisture fields agreed well with observed amounts which varied from about 2 cm day−1 in the vicinity of the trough axis to about 0.5 cm day−1 near the ridge axis. The diabatic heating difference between trough and ridge regions was largest at 400 mb where it was estimated to be nearly 10C day−1.

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Mark D. Albright, Donald R. Mock, Ernest E. Recker, and Richard J. Reed


Heat and moisture budgets are used to compute net condensation rates in the GATE B-scale network for four hours of the day: 0000, 0600, 1200 and 1800 GMT. Budgets are presented for all phases combined, for selected periods of enhanced convection and for selected periods of suppressed convection. Computations are based on fitted values of the meteorological sounding data for the center of the B-scale ship array, on surface heat flux and evaporation measurements for seven ships in the array and on Cox and Griffith's (1979) radiation measurements for Phase III. Results are also presented for the diurnal variation of the basic variables.

Main findings are as follows:

  1. 1) Temperature variations are small, of the order of a few tenths of a degree, with a daytime maximum and nighttime minimum. There is evidence of possible radiation error above 400 mb where the amplitude is largest.

  2. 2) The atmosphere appears to be relatively dry during the day, when convection is most active, and relatively moist at night. It is suggested that this behavior may be caused by instrumental error.

  3. 3) The divergence and vertical velocity undergo characteristic cycles that were repeated in all three phases. It is hypothesized from their behavior that the convection evolves in three distinct stages: a stage of shallow convection during the early night, a stage of vigorously growing, primarily moderate-depth convection in the late night and morning and a stage of predominantly deep convection in the afternoon.

  4. 4) The vertical advection terms dominated both budgets. Variations of heat and moisture storage and of radiation were also important. Surface evaporation and sensible heat flux were essentially constant throughout the day.

  5. 5) Rainfall diagnosed from the heat budget was less than the observed precipitation and rainfall diagnosed from the moisture budget was greater than the observed precipitation in all three phases.

  6. 6) Maximum diagnosed condensation preceded maximum observed precipitation by ∼6 h. Differences between condensation and precipitation rates are attributed in part to storage of condensed water, though errors of measurement undoubtedly contributed to them as well.

  7. 7) The diurnal cycles of precipitation and low-level vertical motion were much larger in the disturbed (trough) region of easterly waves than in the suppressed (ridge) region. During highly suppressed periods the precipitation was uniformly distributed throughout the day while the vertical motion still appeared to show a variation.

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Robert M. Thompson Jr., Steven W. Payne, Ernest E. Recker, and Richard J. Reed


Data from a dense network of ship observations are used to study the structure and properties of westward-moving wave disturbances observed in the eastern Atlantic Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) during Phase III of the GAPP Atlantic Tropical Experiment (GATE). Comparisons are made with similar disturbances found in the ITCZ of the western Pacific. Wave fields are determined by fitting low-order polynomials to the ship data with use of the method of least squares.

The wave structures in the two regions are found to be similar in many respects, the principal difference being in the divergence field and associated vertical motion. Unlike in the Pacific a multi-layer divergence pattern exists in the eastern Atlantic, leading us to hypothesize the existence of three main cloud populations with outflow levels near 800, 500 and 250 mb. The soundings for the Atlantic exhibit lesser parcel instability then the Pacific soundings in agreement with the reduced vigor of the convective cells and the greater tendency for multiple cloud layers. The strongest upward motion (∼150 mb day−1) occurs in and somewhat ahead of the wave trough, as in the Pacific, but at a much lower level (800–700 mb). A secondary maximum appears near 350 mb, where the primary maximum appears in the Pacific. The maximum precipitation rate of 22 mm day−1 is observed in the region of strongest upward motion. The rate decreases to 4 mm day−1 in the region of suppressed convection near the wave ridge. Vertical eddy flux of total heat is largest at the 800 mb level in the wave trough (225 W m−2) and produces cumulus heating and cooling of about 5°C day−1 above and below the maximum, respectively.

A nearly balanced moisture budget for the inner ship array or B-scale area was obtained from the fitted fields when data from both outer and inner ships were employed in the fitting. In particular, two individual waves and the composite or average wave yielded sufficiently accurate budgets to encourage their use in quantitative studies of interactions between synoptic-scale and convective-scale systems. The residual in the heat budget suggests a radiational cooling rate of 0.9°C day−1. The surface energy budget indicates a net radiative flux at the surface of 129 W m−2 of which 106 W m−2 was used for evaporation and 12 W m−2 for sensible heat flux to the atmosphere, leaving 11 W m−2 for heating of the ocean mixed layer. The heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere underwent a pronounced variation with passage of the synoptic disturbances, causing sea surface temperatures to be 0.3°C warmer ahead of the wave troughs than behind. Precipitation rates employed in the budgets were based on radar measurements; surface sensible and latent heat fluxes were computed by the bulk aerodynamic method with use of temperatures, humidities and winds from the booms of four B-scale ships; and net radiation at the surface was obtained from measurements made aboard the same four ships.

The kinetic energy of the waves was provided by the barotropic conversion process (conversion from zonal kinetic energy), the baroclinic conversion being negative and thus a sink for the eddy kinetic energy. Likewise, the generation of eddy available potential energy was negative, implying that latent heat release opposed, rather than contributed, to the wave growth. The described conditions are quite unlike those in the western Pacific ITCZ where condensation heating provides the source for the wave energy and the barotropic conversion constitutes a weak sink.

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