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Global data and visualization for Earth system science education

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2 Author(s)
Johnson, D.R. ; Space Sci. & Eng. Center, Wisconsin Univ., Madison, WI, USA ; Thompson, O.

Visualization software is extremely valuable in Earth system science education. First, visualization software readily portrays structure in terms of variables that portray the state of the system. Equally if not more important, visualization software readily portrays the underlying physical processes which force the evolution of the Earth system. For example, atmospheric transport processes are a response due to forcing by differential heating and cooling, surface energy flux, momentum sources and sinks, etc. As an illustration of its power, visualization software is utilized to animate the annual cycle of global distributions of vertically averaged differential heating within the atmosphere as determined from four-dimensional globally assimilated data. The animation of the annual cycle portrays remarkable differences in the patterns of differential heating that occur between the northern (as the land) hemisphere and the southern (as the ocean) hemisphere due to seasonal migration of the latitude of the maximum incoming solar energy. The resulting patterns provide fundamental insight into the forcing of planetary scale monsoonal circulations which largely determines the seasonal variation of weather and climate. Visualization software is also used to portray the four-dimensional evolution of entropy surfaces within amplifying baroclinic waves of extratropical/polar latitudes that are a direct dynamic response to the meridional variation of differential heating

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 2000. Proceedings. IGARSS 2000. IEEE 2000 International  (Volume:2 )

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