Application of the Special Sensor Microwave Imager Dataset to Observing Circulation in the Mediterranean Basin Academic Article uri icon


  • The satellite-borne Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) accurately measures the speed of the ocean-surface winds, but not their direction. Analysis developed in the Data-Assimilation Office at NASA/GSFC, derives wind direction by incorporating conventional (surface) measurements of the wind speed and direction, thus leading to global maps of ocean-surface wind vector. We report in this paper application of the SSM/I dataset to study circulation patterns in the Mediterranean Basin, focusing on the influence of maritime-air advection on precipitation over the eastern Mediterranean coastal lands, Israel and Lebanon. Specifically, lack of maritime-air advection in early February 1996 precluded precipitation events, as illustrated by a map of streamlines for February 5, 1996, which show the flow of dry air from Egypt and Sudan. Advection ,from the western and central Mediterranean to Israel, illustrated by streamlines for February 10, 1996, produced strong rains on that date. (12.7 mm at Jerusalem Center; 23.9 mm on Mount Kenaan in Israel, close to the Lebanon border.) Surface-air trajectories which we trace from the SSM/I dataset, provide in-depth insight into the complex, rapidly changing circulation patterns in the Mediterranean basin. Thus, the usefulness of this dataset for meteorological studies is once more demonstrated.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000

published in