A comparison of modeled and observed relationships between interannual variations of water vapor and temperature

De Zheng Sun, Isaac M. Held

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

The correlations between interannual variations of tropical mean water vapor and temperature in the simulations by a low resolution (R15) GCM are stronger than those in the rawinsonde observations. The rate of fractional increase of tropical mean water vapor with temperature in the model simulations is also larger than that from the observations. The largest discrepancies are found in the region immediately above the tropical convective boundary layer (850-600 mb). The rate of fractional increase of tropical mean water vapor with temperature in the model simulations is close to that for a constant relative humidity. The correlations between variations of water vapor in the upper troposphere and those in the lower troposphere are also stronger in the model simulations than in the observations. In the horizontal, the characteristic spatial patterns of the normalized water vapor variations in the model simulations and observations are similar. The water vapor-temperature relationship in simulations by a GCM with a somewhat higher spatial resolution (R30) is almost identical to that in the simulations by the low resolution (R15) GCM. The implications of these findings for the radiative feedback of water vapor are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-675
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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