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SIGMUND FRITZ and RAYMOND M. McINTURFF

Abstract

The Satellite Infrared Spectrometer onboard Nimbus 3 has a 5 cm−1 spectral interval centered at 669.3 cm−1 (15µm). The stratosphere contributes nearly all the outgoing terrestrial radiation at this frequency, and, consequently, the observed radiances provide a measure of a weighted mean temperature of the upper 100 mb of air. Maps of the 669.3 cm−1 channel radiances indicate layer-mean stratospheric temperature patterns. Such patterns are studied for both the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere, mainly for the periods of transition from summertime to wintertime circulation regimes. The periods under consideration are of special interest because pockets of warm air remain in spite of the seasonal cooling due to decreasing solar radiation over each hemisphere. Changes in location and intensity of both cold and warm areas are described. The principal region of high radiance (warm air) over the Northern Hemisphere, traditionally associated with the Aleutian anticyclone, was found to be mainly over Siberia. A corresponding warm region over the Southern Hemisphere was found, and its mean position during the transition period is only 25° of longitude farther to the west. Possible explanations for these positions are discussed.

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KEITH W. JOHNSON and RAYMOND M. McINTURFF

Abstract

The satellite infrared spectrometer aboard Nimbus 3 has provided a new source of temperature data and height data for the atmosphere. Problems of applying these data in synoptic stratospheric analysis are briefly reviewed. It is found that consistent summertime synoptic charts for the Northern Hemisphere (at 50, 30, and 10 mb) may be prepared using a 100-mb objective analysis as a base chart and thicknesses above 100 mb from SIRS retrievals. Some improvement is made possible by use of concurrent wind observations. It is noted that the SIRS observations have yielded a significant improvement in the data base for the stratosphere.

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RAYMOND M. McINTURFF and ALVIN J. MILLER

Abstract

Significant temporal variations in the “quasi-biennial” oscillation (QBO) of the equatorial stratosphere raise questions concerning relationships between the various characteristics of the oscillation. A comparison of observations made before 1962 with those made after 1962 suggests the following relationships: β ≈ PU/4 in the 10- to 30-mb layer; PU/8≤β≤PU/4 in the 30- to 50-mb layer; and cUPU ≈ constant from 10 to 50 mb (where β is the phase difference between the zonal wind-QBO and temperature-QBO, PU is the period of the zonal wind-QBO, and cU is the speed of vertical propagation of the zonal wind-QBO).

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Frederick G. Finger and Raymond M. McInturff

Abstract

An attempt is made to determine empirically the diurnal temperature range between 24 and 36 km, by using means of 12-hr temperature differences obtained from successive rawinsonde observations over North America. With a technique for isolating effects of solar radiation on the radiosonde instrument, it has become possible to construct a model of the middle stratospheric daily temperature variation. According to this model, the temperature reaches a maximum near sunset and a minimum near sunrise. The amplitude of the oscillation is found to increase with altitude between the 30- and 5-mb levels and to depend on latitude. A seasonal effect is strongly suggested.

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FREDERICK G. FINGER, KEITH W. JOHNSON, MELVYN E. GELMAN, and RAYMOND M. McINTURFF

Abstract

The usefulness of Nimbus 4 satellite infrared spectrometer (SIRS)-derived temperature and height data for constant-pressure analyses at stratospheric levels is investigated by comparing SIRS data with rawinsonde observations and objective analyses of those data. Results from the various methods of comparison are difficult to interpret since systematic and random errors of observations at stratospheric altitudes do not permit the observed data to be used as an unquestioned standard. In addition, conclusions must be qualified by the fact that the SIRS information derived to date has depended in part on analyses of rawinsonde data.

The following conclusions were reached from the various comparison studies: (1) SIRS data are useful for constant-pressure analyses at stratospheric levels, (2) mean differences between analyzed rawinsonde temperatures and SIRS derivations are generally less than 3°C, (3) differences are greater during stratospheric warmings, but SIRS data generally indicate the proper trend of the temperature changes, thus adding information about the temperature of the real atmosphere to an analysis, and (4) stratospheric SIRS data after Nov. 5, 1971, can be used with more confidence than those derived before that date.

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