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Title: Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century [Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century]

Abstract

In the first decades of the 20th century, aerological observations were for the first time performed in tropical regions. One of the most prominent endeavours in this respect was Arthur Berson's aerological expedition to East Africa. Although the main target was the East African monsoon circulation, the expedition provided also other insights that profoundly changed meteorology and climatology. Berson observed that the tropical tropopause was much higher and colder than that over midlatitudes. Moreover, westerly winds were observed in the lower stratosphere, apparently contradicting the high-altitude equatorial easterly winds that were known since the Krakatoa eruption (“Krakatoa easterlies(”). The puzzle was only resolved five decades later with the discovery of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO). In this paper we briefly summarize the expedition of Berson and review the results in a historical context and in the light of the current research. In the second part of the paper we re-visit Berson's early aerological observations, which we have digitized. We compare the observed wind profiles with corresponding profiles extracted from the (“Twentieth Century Reanalysis(”, which provides global three-dimensional weather information back to 1871 based on an assimilation of sea-level and surface pressure data. The comparison shows a good agreement at the coastmore » but less good agreement further inland, at the shore of Lake Victoria, where the circulation is more complex. These results demonstrate that Berson's observations are still valuable today as input to current reanalysis systems or for their validation.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Bern, Bern (Switzerland). Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research and Inst. of Geography
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1565229
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Meteorologische Zeitschrift (Berlin)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Meteorologische Zeitschrift (Berlin); Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 0941-2948
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences, berson westerlies, historical aerology, quasi-biennial oscillation, tropical tropopause

Citation Formats

Brönnimann, Stefan, and Stickler, Alexander. Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century [Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century]. United States: N. p., 2013. Web. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2013/0458.
Brönnimann, Stefan, & Stickler, Alexander. Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century [Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century]. United States. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2013/0458.
Brönnimann, Stefan, and Stickler, Alexander. Mon . "Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century [Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century]". United States. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2013/0458. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1565229.
@article{osti_1565229,
title = {Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century [Aerological observations in the Tropics in the Early Twentieth Century]},
author = {Brönnimann, Stefan and Stickler, Alexander},
abstractNote = {In the first decades of the 20th century, aerological observations were for the first time performed in tropical regions. One of the most prominent endeavours in this respect was Arthur Berson's aerological expedition to East Africa. Although the main target was the East African monsoon circulation, the expedition provided also other insights that profoundly changed meteorology and climatology. Berson observed that the tropical tropopause was much higher and colder than that over midlatitudes. Moreover, westerly winds were observed in the lower stratosphere, apparently contradicting the high-altitude equatorial easterly winds that were known since the Krakatoa eruption (“Krakatoa easterlies(”). The puzzle was only resolved five decades later with the discovery of the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO). In this paper we briefly summarize the expedition of Berson and review the results in a historical context and in the light of the current research. In the second part of the paper we re-visit Berson's early aerological observations, which we have digitized. We compare the observed wind profiles with corresponding profiles extracted from the (“Twentieth Century Reanalysis(”, which provides global three-dimensional weather information back to 1871 based on an assimilation of sea-level and surface pressure data. The comparison shows a good agreement at the coast but less good agreement further inland, at the shore of Lake Victoria, where the circulation is more complex. These results demonstrate that Berson's observations are still valuable today as input to current reanalysis systems or for their validation.},
doi = {10.1127/0941-2948/2013/0458},
journal = {Meteorologische Zeitschrift (Berlin)},
number = 3,
volume = 22,
place = {United States},
year = {2013},
month = {7}
}

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