Image courtesy of Paquita Zuidema.

From: Dr. Paquita Zuidema
Ronald Brown (ship), November 12, 2008

First Cut at Data Analysis

I thought I would try to give a flavor to analyzing real-time data. The plot I've attached shows atmospheric water vapor paths and cloud liquid water paths, produced from a standard microwave radiometer. This is a cloud remote sensing instrument that points upwards and measures radiation given off naturally by the atmosphere. It is most responsive to water vapor and - just like your microwave oven at home - liquid water. I also have red dots on the plot, to indicate the water vapor paths from another instrument (weather balloon soundings). The red dots and black points don't always line up together so well! This is my first look at this data and the challenge now is to figure out what happened. One interesting thing you can see in the figure, however, is that the red dots got higher at the end of the plot. This is when the ship was coming into port, and shows that the land was moister (overall) than the ocean. This may be because the land surface is usually warmer than the ocean, with heating of the land from the sun driving an afternoon sea breeze that brings in moisture off of the ocean into land.

Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific

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