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Title: Interannual Variability of Tropospheric Moisture and Temperature and Relationships to ENSO Using COSMIC-1 GNSS-RO Retrievals
Abstract Interannual variability of tropospheric moisture and temperature are key aspects of Earth’s climate. In this study, monthly mean specific humidity ( q ) and temperature ( T ) variability is analyzed using 12 years of COSMIC-1 (C1) radio occultation retrievals between 60°N and 60°S, with a focus on the tropics. C1 retrievals are relatively independent of the a priori values for q and T within the lower/middle troposphere and upper troposphere/lower stratosphere, respectively. Tropical interannual variability is dominated by El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Systematic increases and decreases in zonal mean q and T are observed during the 2009/10 and 2015/16 El Niño events and 2007/08 and 2010/11 La Niña events, respectively. ENSO patterns in q and T are isolated using linear regression, and anomaly magnitudes increase with altitude, reaching a maximum in the upper troposphere. Upper-tropospheric q anomalies expand from the tropics into the midlatitude lower stratosphere, and the T vertical structure is consistent with a moist adiabatic response. C1 results are compared with NCAR’s Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model (WACCM), forced by observed sea surface temperatures, to evaluate model behavior in an idealized setting. WACCM ENSO variations in q and T generally show consistent behavior with C1 with somewhat smaller magnitudes. Case studies are conducted for major ENSO events during the study period. The spatial variability of q is closely aligned with outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) anomalies. For example, midtropospheric q increases over 100% and OLR decreases over 50 W m −2 over the central Pacific during the 2015/16 El Niño, and substantial regional q and T anomalies are observed throughout the tropics and midlatitudes for each event.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Climate
Page Range / eLocation ID:
7109 to 7125
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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