Structure and correlation functions are used to describe atmospheric variability during the 10–11 April day of AVE–SESAME 1979 that coincided with the Red River Valley tornado outbreak. The special mesoscale rawinsonde data are employed in calculations involving temperature, geopotential height, horizontal wind speed and mixing ratio. Functional analyses are performed in both the lower and upper troposphere for the composite 24 h experiment period and at individual 3 h observation times.
Results show that mesoscale features are prominent during the composite period. Fields of mixing ratio and horizontal wind speed exhibit the greatest amounts of small-scale variance, whereas temperature and geopotential height contain the least. Results for the nine individual times show that small-scale variance is greatest during the convective outbreak. The functions also are used to estimate random errors in the rawinsonde data. Finally, sensitivity analyses are presented to quantify confidence limits of the structure functions.