What We Have Learned about Field Programs

  • Margaret A. Lemone
Part of the Meteorological Monographs book series (METEOR)


Based on personal experience and input from colleagues, the natural history of a field program is discussed, from conception through data analysis and synthesis of results. For convenience, the life cycle of a field program is divided into three phases: the prefield phase, the field phase, and the aftermath. As described here, the prefield phase involves conceiving the idea, developing the scientific objectives, naming the program, obtaining support, and arranging the logistics. The field phase discussion highlights the decision making process, balancing input from data and numerical models, and human interactions. The data are merged, analyzed, and synthesized into knowledge mainly after the field effort.

Three major conclusions are drawn. First, it is the people most of all who make a field program successful, and cooperation and collegial consensus building are vital during all phases; good health and a sense of humor both help make this possible. Second, although numerical models are now playing a central role in all phases of a field program, not paying adequate attention to the observations can lead to problems. And finally, it cannot be overemphasized that both funding agencies and participants must recognize that it takes several years to fully exploit the datasets collected, with the corollary that high-quality datasets should be available long term.


Planetary Boundary Layer Tropical Rainfall Measure Mission Wind Profile Continental Drift Boundary Layer Wind 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brown, R. A., 1970: A secondary flow model for the planetary boundary layer. J. Atmos. Sci., 27, 742–757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Crawford, K. C., and H. R. Hudson, 1970: Behavior of winds in the lowest 1500 feet in Central Oklahoma: June 1966—May 1967. ESSA Tech. Memo. ERTLM-NSSL 48, 57 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Deardorff, J. W., 1972: Numerical investigations of neutral and unstable planetary boundary layers. J. Atmos. Sci., 29, 91–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Faller, A. J., and R. E. Kaylor, 1966: A numerical study of the laminar Ekman layer. J. Atmos. Sci., 23, 466–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Geisler, J. E., and E. B. Kraus, 1969: The well-mixed Ekman Boundary Layer. Deep-Sea Res., 16 (Suppl.), 73–84.Google Scholar
  6. Gorman, J., 1995: Ocean Enough and Time. HarperCollins, 190 pp. Gray, W. M., and B. R. Mendenhall, 1973: A statistical analysis of factors influencing the wind veering in the planetary boundary layer. Bonner Meteorol. Abhandl., 17, 167–194.Google Scholar
  7. Guichard, E, D. Parsons, and E. Miller, 2000: Thermodynamic and radiative impact of the correction of sounding humidity bias in the Tropics. J. Climate, 13, 3611–3624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. LeMone, M. A., 1983: The time between a field experiment and its published results. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 64, 614–615.Google Scholar
  9. LeMone, M. A., M. Zhou, C.-H. Moeng, D. H. Lenschow, L. J. Miller, and R. L. Grossman, 1999: An observational study of wind profiles in the baroclinic convective planetary boundary layer. Bound.-Layer Meteor., 90, 47–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lilly, D. K., 1966: On the stability of Ekman boundary flow. J. Atmos. Sci., 23, 481–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lucas, C., and E. J. Zipser, 1996: The variability of vertical profiles of wind, temperature, and moisture, during TOGA COARE. Preprints, 7th Conf. on Mesoscale Processes, Reading, United Kingdom, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 125–127.Google Scholar
  12. Lucas, C., and E. J. Zipser, 2000: Environmental variability during TOGA COARE. J. Atmos. Sci., 57, 2333–2350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Malkus, J. S., 1958: On the Structure of the Trade Wind Moist Layer. Papers in Physical Oceanography and Meteorology, No. 13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 47 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Mildner, P. 1932: Uber the Reibung in Einer Speziellen Luftmasse in den Unterstehen der Atmosphare. Beitr. Phys. Freien. Atmos 19 151.Google Scholar
  15. Moeng, C.-H., and P. P. Sullivan, 1994: A comparison of shear- and buoyancy-driven planetary boundary layer flows. J. Atmos. Sci., 51, 999–1022.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nicholls, S., and M. A. LeMone, 1980: The fair weather boundary layer in GATE: The relationship of subcloud fluxes and structure to the distribution and enhancement of cumulus clouds. J. Atmos. Sci., 37, 2051–2067.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. O’Brien, J. J., 1970: A note on the vertical structure of the eddy exchange coefficient in the planetary boundary layer. J. Atmos. Sci., 27, 1213–1215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Oreskes, N., 1999: The rejection of continental drift: Theory and method in American earth science. Oxford University Press, 420 pp.Google Scholar
  19. Pennell, W. T, and M. A. LeMone, 1974: An experimental study of turbulence structure in the fair-weather trade wind boundary layer. J. Atmos. Sci., 31, 1308–1323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Riehl, H., T. C. Yeh, J. S. Malkus, and N. E. LaSeur, 1951: The northeast trade of the Pacific Ocean. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 77, 598–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rotunno, R., J. B. Klemp, and M. L. Weisman, 1988: A theory for strong, long-lived squall lines. J. Atmos. Sci., 45, 463–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Simpson, J., 1976: The GATE aircraft program: A personal view. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 57, 27–30.Google Scholar
  23. Simpson, J., and V. Wiggert, 1971: 1968 Florida cumulus seeing experiment: Numerical model results. Mon. Wea. Rev., 99, 87–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Viterbo, E, and A. C. M. Beljaars, 1995: An improved land surface parameterization scheme in the ECMWF model and its validation. ECMWF Res. Dept. Tech. Rep. 75, 52 pp.Google Scholar
  25. Zipser, E. J., and R. H. Johnson, 1998: Systematic errors in radiosonde humidities: A global problem? Preprints, 10th Symp. on Measurements, Observations, and Instrumentation, Phoenix, AZ, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 72–73.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© American Meteorological Society 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret A. Lemone
    • 1
  1. 1.National Center for Atmospheric ResearchBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations