Trajectory Mapping and Applications to Data from the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite

Gary A. Morris, Valparaiso University
Mark R. Schoeberl
Lynn C. Sparling
Paul A. Newman
Leslie R. Lait
Lee Elson
Joe Waters
Robert A. Suttie
Aidan Roche
Jack Kumer
James M. Russell


The problem of creating synoptic maps from asynoptically gathered trace gas data has prompted the development of a number of schemes. Most notable among these schemes are the Kalman filter, the Salby-Fourier technique, and constituent reconstruction. This paper explores a new technique called "trajectory mapping." Trajectory mapping creates synoptic maps from asynoptically gathered data by advecting measurements backward or forward in time using analyzed wind fields. A significant portion of this work is devoted to an analysis of errors in synoptic trajectory maps associated with the calculation of individual parcel trajectories. In particular, we have considered (1) calculational errors; (2) uncertainties in the values and locations of constituent measurements, (3) errors incurred by neglecting diabatic effects, and (4) sensitivity to differences in wind field analyses. These studies reveal that the global fields derived from the advection of large numbers of measurements are relatively insensitive to the errors in the individual trajectories. The trajectory mapping technique has been successfully applied to a variety of problems. In this paper, the following two applications demonstrate the usefulness of the technique: an analysis of dynamical wave-breaking events and an examination of Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite data accuracy.