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Water Vapor Variability in the Tropical Western Pacific from 20-year Radiosonde Data

  • The 20-year (1976-1995) daily radiosonde data at 17 stations in the tropical western Pacific was ana lyzed. The analysis shows that the atmosphere is more humid in a warmer climate on seasonal, inter-annual and long-term (20-year) time scales, implying a positive water vapor feedback. The vertical structure of the long-term trends in relative humidity (RH) is distinct from that on short-term (seasonal and inter-annual) time scales, suggesting that observed water vapor changes on short time scales could not be considered as a surrogate of long-term climate change. The increasing trend of RH (3%-5%/decade) in the upper troposphere is stronger than that in the lower troposphere (1%-2% / decade). Such vertical structure would amplify positive water vapor feedback in comparison to the common assumption of constant RH changes vertically. The empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of vertical structure of RH variations shows distinct features of the vertical structure of the first three EOFs. The first three EOFs are optimal for repre sentation of water vapor profiles and provide some hints on physical mechanisms responsible for observed humidity variability. Vaisala radiosondes were used at nine stations, and VIZ radiosondes used at other eight stations. The Vaisala data are corrected for temperature-dependence error using the correction scheme developed by NCAR / ATD and Vaisala. The comparison of Vaisala and VIZ data shows that the VIZ-measured RHs after October 1993 have a moist bias of ~ 10% at RHs < 20%. During 1976-1995, several changes in cluding both instruments and reporting practice have been made at Vaisala stations and introduce errors to long-term RH variations.
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Manuscript History

Manuscript received: 10 September 2001
Manuscript revised: 10 September 2001
通讯作者: 陈斌, bchen63@163.com
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    沈阳化工大学材料科学与工程学院 沈阳 110142

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Water Vapor Variability in the Tropical Western Pacific from 20-year Radiosonde Data

  • 1. National Center for Atmospheric Research② P. O. Box 3000,Boulder, CO 80307,National Center for Atmospheric Research② P. O. Box 3000,Boulder, CO 80307,National Center for Atmospheric Research② P. O. Box 3000,Boulder, CO 80307

Abstract: The 20-year (1976-1995) daily radiosonde data at 17 stations in the tropical western Pacific was ana lyzed. The analysis shows that the atmosphere is more humid in a warmer climate on seasonal, inter-annual and long-term (20-year) time scales, implying a positive water vapor feedback. The vertical structure of the long-term trends in relative humidity (RH) is distinct from that on short-term (seasonal and inter-annual) time scales, suggesting that observed water vapor changes on short time scales could not be considered as a surrogate of long-term climate change. The increasing trend of RH (3%-5%/decade) in the upper troposphere is stronger than that in the lower troposphere (1%-2% / decade). Such vertical structure would amplify positive water vapor feedback in comparison to the common assumption of constant RH changes vertically. The empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of vertical structure of RH variations shows distinct features of the vertical structure of the first three EOFs. The first three EOFs are optimal for repre sentation of water vapor profiles and provide some hints on physical mechanisms responsible for observed humidity variability. Vaisala radiosondes were used at nine stations, and VIZ radiosondes used at other eight stations. The Vaisala data are corrected for temperature-dependence error using the correction scheme developed by NCAR / ATD and Vaisala. The comparison of Vaisala and VIZ data shows that the VIZ-measured RHs after October 1993 have a moist bias of ~ 10% at RHs < 20%. During 1976-1995, several changes in cluding both instruments and reporting practice have been made at Vaisala stations and introduce errors to long-term RH variations.

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