Source: Thomas Pagano, NASA/JPL-Caltech
Published: June 3, 2022

This animation of water vapor trends seen from AIRS has three parts. The first part shows the global monthly mean specific humidity for each month of the AIRS mission at a pressure level of 931 mb from the Version 2 of the CLIMCAPS-Aqua L3 data product. We see a regular pattern that looks almost identical from year to year at the scale given in the colorbar.

The second part of the animation shows the anomaly for each month as defined as the difference in monthly mean specific humidity for each month at any given location from the average specific humidity for that month at that location over the entire timeframe. Notice the scale in the colorbar is expanded to highlight the differences seen in any given month. The anomaly is relatively chaotic due to weather patterns.

The third part of the animation shows the ‘cumulative trend’ defined as the trend in the anomaly that would be calculated from the beginning of the mission up to the point in time identified in the legend. At the start of the mission, we do not have enough data to compute a meaningful trend, so the cumulative trend starts out chaotic like the anomaly. As time goes on, the presence of more data stabilizes the trend to the point at the end of the animation where the variability subsides and a clear trend is visible.

The final frame in the animation represents the trends we see in the data. A slight moistening is seen in the Arctic with variable trends at other latitudes.

At the time of the production of this animation, the observed trends seen in the data have not been validated. We share them with the community at this time to inspire further investigation and validation.