Determining the tropopause height from gridded data

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Abstract

[1] A method is presented to determine tropopause height from gridded temperature data with coarse vertical resolution. The algorithm uses a thermal definition of the tropopause, which is based on the concept of a “threshold lapse-rate”. Interpolation is performed to identify the pressure at which this threshold is reached and maintained for a prescribed vertical distance. The method is verified by comparing the heights calculated from analyses of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) with the observed heights at individual radiosonde stations. RMS errors in the calculated tropopause heights are generally small. They range from 30–40 hPa in the extratropics to 10–20 hPa in the tropics. The largest deviations occur in the subtropics, where the tropopause has strong meridional gradients that are not adequately resolved by the input data.

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