Synoptic applications of NOAA microwave sounding data
Mickelinc, Mark W.
Hirschberg, Paul A.
Wash, Carlyle H.
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A statistical study of satellite derived channel 3 Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) brightness-temperatures and conventionally derived fields by Parke (1994) showed that the MSU can be used to locate baroclinic waves. Most significantly, Parke found high negative average correlations between the synoptic scale MSU and midlevel height patterns in accordance with theory. However, there were instances in his six month sample where the correlations were not as expected. In this thesis, three reasons for these unexpected correlations are investigated. One reason is the inclusion of erroneous data. Another is the statistical method. In particular, the Errico (1985) method of scale separation is found to not remove all unwanted wavelength signals in the data. Moreover, the Eulerian based statistics produce misleading results at times. Results from an example implementation of a simple semi-Lagrangian approach suggests that such a method might produce more reasonable correlations. Thirdly, synoptic regime appears to be a factor. Classifying synoptic regimes with a thermal wind zonal index shows some utility in identifying patterns that are associated with expected correlations. Finally, two case studies are presented that demonstrate the usefulness of MSU data in conjunction with conventional data in individual forecasting situations.
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