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Paul A. Hirschberg, Matthew C. Parke, Carlyle H. Wash, Mark Mickelinc, Roy W. Spencer, and Eric Thaler

Abstract

A statistical analysis is performed on a 6-month global dataset consisting of satellite-derived channel 3 Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU3) brightness temperature and various conventionally derived fields to quantify the potential usefulness of MSU3 analyses in the nowcasting and forecasting of baroclinic waves. High positive spatial and temporal correlations are obtained between the MSU3 brightness temperature and 400–100-mb thickness fields over all wavelengths in the data. Slightly lesser positive correlations are found between the MSU3 and the 200-mb temperature. The MSU3–500-mb and MSU3–50-mb height correlation results indicate a scale dependence in the hydrostatic spreading of thickness anomalies in the vertical. Most significantly, relatively high negative MSU3–500-mb height correlations for the short (≤ synoptic scale) wavelength portion of the data suggest that upper-level thermal anomalies are reflected downward and that MSU3 analyses can be used to track midlevel synoptic-scale baroclinic waves. This conclusion is also supported by relatively high negative MSU3–500-mb vorticity and MSU3–dynamic tropopause correlations along the climatological storm tracks.

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