GSFC Meteorological Plots for ATom Flights

The ATom field campaign is scheduled to have four deployments. As each is flown, plots of meteorological fields will be posted here, to assist investigators in putting their measurements into context.

The plots are organized here by deployment and by meteorological data source. Two data sources are used:

There are two kinds of plots presented here: maps of meteorological fields on quasi-horizontal surfaces with the flight track overlaid, and "curtains" of meteorological fields plotted as vertical profiles along the flight track. These curtain plots have three horizontal axes: UTC time, aircraft latitude, and aircraft longitude. The time axis is monotonic and linear, labelled in "hh:mm" format, except where the flight crosses a day boundary, in which case the format is "ddThh:mm". Aircraft longitudes and latitudes are neither monotonic nor linear, but indicate the aircraft location at the corresponding time. The vertical axis in the curtain plot is log-pressure altitude. (Note also that the maps are taken from an single analysis time near the middle of the flight, while the curtains here are interpolated in time to each point along the flight track.)

In each section below, we have added an overview map of all the section's flights, for reference. (The thumbnail images are links to the full versions.) Each flight is labelled, and the colors alternate to aid in distinguishing one flight from the next. Air fields are marked with large yellow dots. Low-altitude points (i.e., the bottoms of the vertical profiles) are marked with small cyan dots.

Plots for ATom-1 (July-August 2016) Flights

Plots for ATom-2 (January-February 2017) Flights

Plots for ATom-3 (September-October 2017) Flights

Plots for ATom-4 (April-May 2018) Flights

Further Notes

Plots on pressure surfaces show the flight track highlighted wherever it comes within 2 km vertically of the displayed pressure surface.

Some quantities are plotted as color-coded images; these have a color scale/color bar to one side, labelled with the quantity name and units. Other quantities are displayed with contour lines; these are labelled along the bottom of the plot, with the label being the same color as its corresponding contours. For example, when the boundary layer height is labelled in cyan at the bottom of a curtain plot, a cyan contour in the plot shows the height of the boundary layer.

Many of the plots have their scales set automatically from the range of data to be displayed. Therefore, be sure to note the scale (color bar) when comparing plots.

On some maps, wind vectors are plotted here as color-coded arrowheads. Although unusual, this convention is intended to provide an intuitive and immediate depiction of the flow from which quantitative information can be retrieved. On other maps, wind vectors are plotted using wind barbs, but note that the barbs are coded in m/s rather than knots. (We know this is less than optimal, but we wanted to keep the plots in SI units.)

Some cross-section curtain plots show "MPV". This is modified potential vorticity, as described in Lait [1994] ( "An alternative form for potential vorticity", J. Atmos. Sci., 51, 1754-1759). MPV maintains the conservation of the regular form of Ertel's Potential Vorticity on isentropic surfaces, but it makes it easier to see horizontal variations in stratospheric cross-sections. The PV tropopause remains readily visible in the vertical gradient.

On some of the lower-altitude GEOS5 plots, large areas are left blank/white; This happens where where the surface being plotted cuts through topography. (The GDAS data are not interrupted by topography.) Small areas of white may indicate data that are off-scale (out of the plotted range of data values).

ATom Links