Climate Dynamics

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 241–250 | Cite as

A comparison of reanalyses in the tropical stratosphere. Part 3: inclusion of the pre-satellite data era

  • S. Pawson
  • M. Fiorino


 In this study, previous evaluations of the monthly mean structure of the tropical lower stratosphere in reanalyzed datasets are extended to include the period 1958–1978, when no satellite-based observations were available. It is shown that a large discontinuity, in temperatures near the tropical tropopause, in the NCEP data occurred when the Tiros Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS) became operational. When only rawinsonde data were available, the tropopause temperatures in the NCEP dataset are in better agreement with ERA data for TOVS period. Both NCEP and NASA reanalyses show similar deviations from the ERA data in the TOVS renalyses show similar deviations from the ERA data in the TOVS period. There is also a stepwise change in the lower stratospheric meridional velocity when the TOVS data were introduced into the NCEP reanalyses. This discontinuity is such that in the 1958–1978 period, the annual cycle in zonal mean meridional velocity in the NCEP data resembles that of the ERA data in the 1979–1993 period. The differences are shown to result from large changes in the local meridional flow in the Indonesian region. The temporal consistency of the QBO is examined; it is shown that the NCEP assimilation system is sensitive to the data available. There is a change in the zonally asymmetric structure of the zonal wind over time, presumably related to the changes in input data and the inability of the model to represent the three-dimensional structure of the tropical lower stratosphere. These results provide further evidence of the value of rawinsonde data in data assimilation systems as well as the need to use satellite radiance data in an appropriate manner.


Zonal Wind Assimilation System Data Assimilation System Meridional Flow NCEP Reanalysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Pawson
    • 1
  • M. Fiorino
    • 2
  1. 1.Universities Space Research Association, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, USA E-mail: pawson@polska.gsfc.nasa.govUS
  2. 2.Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, USAUS

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