An assessment of the diurnal variation of upper tropospheric humidity in reanalysis data sets


Corresponding author: E.-S. Chung, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, USA. (


[1] Diurnal variations of upper tropospheric humidity (UTH) in five different reanalysis data sets are compared over convective land and ocean regions and evaluated using multiple satellite observations as a reference. All reanalysis data sets reproduce the day-night contrast of upper tropospheric humidity and the land-ocean contrast in the diurnal amplitude. The infrared satellite measurements indicate a slightly later diurnal minimum over land relative to most reanalyses and the microwave satellite measurements, suggesting that cloud masking of the infrared radiances may introduce a small (∼3 h) bias in the phase. One reanalysis exhibits a substantially different diurnal cycle over land which is inconsistent with both infrared and microwave satellite measurements and other reanalysis products. This product also exhibits a different covariance between vertical velocity, cloud water, and humidity than other reanalyses, suggesting that the phase bias is related to deficiencies in the parameterization of moist convective processes.