The Characteristic Spatial and Temporal Scales for SLP, SST, and Air Temperature in the Southern Hemisphere

John Colosi Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

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Tim P. Barnett Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California

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Abstract

This study summarizes results of an analysis of the TOGA drifting buoy observations in the Southern Hemisphere. The data were first quality controlled for gross errors and then screened against climatology and products from national weather centers. The characteristic space scales of the SLP, SST, and air temperature fields for the summer months of December, January, and February, and the winter months of June, July, and August were determined next. Typical decorrelation distances for all fields were between 1200–2800 km with the correlations being generally isotropic. This information suggests that roughly 30–40 fully functional buoys evenly distributed over the southern oceans from 15° to 60°S should be able to resolve the major scales of Southern Hemisphere climate change.

Abstract

This study summarizes results of an analysis of the TOGA drifting buoy observations in the Southern Hemisphere. The data were first quality controlled for gross errors and then screened against climatology and products from national weather centers. The characteristic space scales of the SLP, SST, and air temperature fields for the summer months of December, January, and February, and the winter months of June, July, and August were determined next. Typical decorrelation distances for all fields were between 1200–2800 km with the correlations being generally isotropic. This information suggests that roughly 30–40 fully functional buoys evenly distributed over the southern oceans from 15° to 60°S should be able to resolve the major scales of Southern Hemisphere climate change.

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