Gaffen et al., 1992 Gaffen, Dian J., William P. Elliott, and Alan Robock, 1992: Relationships between tropospheric water vapor and surface temperature as observed by radiosondes. Geophys. Res. Lett., 19, 1839-1842.


Using radiosonde data from 50 stations for 1973-1990, we quantify relationships between surface air temperature (TS) and precipitable water (W) for different time scales. Monthly mean observations are fairly well described by an equation of the form ln W = A + B TS, but the coefficients A and B depend on the TS range considered. At high TS, the relationship is poor. This relationship and relationships between sea surface temperature (SST) and W based on satellite microwave observations over oceans are in remarkably good agreement over restricted SST ranges. Monthly and annual anomalies of W and TS are well correlated only outside the tropics, but on longer time scales, there is some evidence of positive trends in both W and TS at most stations studied. Thus the relationship between W and TS depends on the time scales and geographic region considered.

Prepared by Alan Robock ( ) - Last updated on April 2, 1999