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Comparison of data and derived quantities for the middle atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere

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Before data from satellites can be used with confidence in dynamical studies of the middle atmosphere an assessment of their reliability is necessary. To this end, independently analysed data from different instruments may be compared. In this paper, this is done for the Southern Hemisphere as a prelude to the dynamical studies of the middle atmosphere being fostered by the MASH project of the Middle Atmosphere Program. Data from two infrared radiometers are used: a limb scanner (LIMS) and a nadir sounder (SSU). While there is usually qualitative agreement between basic fields (temperatures, winds), substantial quantitative differences are found, with more pronounced differences in fields of Eliassen-Palm flux divergence and Ertel's potential vorticity.

The fidelity of the base-level analysis to which satellite data are tied is important for calculating quantities of relevance to dynamical theory. In the Southern Hemisphere, conventional data are sparse and, through the analysis procedure, this introduces errors into derived fields for the middle atmosphere. The impact of using base-level analyses from different sources is assessed. Large discrepancies are found in fields computed by differentiation.

Several techniques are suggested whereby the reliability of fields derived from satellite data may be gauged.

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Grose, W.L., O'Neill, A. Comparison of data and derived quantities for the middle atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere. PAGEOPH 130, 195–212 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00874455

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Key words

  • MASH project
  • inter-comparison of satellite data