Monday, 10 February 2003
Correlations between SSM/I column vapor and MSU tropospheric air termperature on seasonal, interannual, and decadal time scales
Time series of total atmospheric column water vapor as determined from SSM/I measurements and tropospheric air temperatures from a complete reanalysis of the MSU channel 2 record are analyzed on various spatial and temporal scales in order to elucidate corresponding correlations between these two climate change proxies. Strong correlations between spatial averages over complete circulation systems are observed on time scales ranging from seasonal through interannual to decadal, with the vapor/temperature scaling largely consistent with that expected from the Clausius-Clapeyron thermodynamic relation. As the temperature-water vapor feedback is a critical element in warming amplification by greenhouse gas heat trapping, with much of the variability in global circulation models climate response estimates arising from different vapor parameterizations, application of a hierarchy of correlation and fingerprinting techniques utilizing these two highly stable and precise observational data sets should enable significant improvements in comparative validation of competing model treatments of the T-V feedback dynamics.