Aerosol information content analysis of multi-angle high spectral resolution measurements and its benefit for high accuracy greenhouse gas retrievals
1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA
2SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, The Netherlands
3Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
4Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, IMK-ASF, Karlsruhe, Germany
Abstract. New generations of space-borne spectrometers for the retrieval of atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases require unprecedented accuracies as atmospheric variability of long-lived gases is very low. These instruments, such as GOSAT and OCO-2, typically use a high spectral resolution oxygen channel (O2 A-band) in addition to CO2 and CH4 channels to discriminate changes in the photon path-length distribution from actual trace gas amount changes. Inaccurate knowledge of the photon path-length distribution, determined by scatterers in the atmosphere, is the prime source of systematic biases in the retrieval. In this paper, we investigate the combined aerosol and greenhouse gas retrieval using multiple satellite viewing angles simultaneously. We find that this method, hitherto only applied in multi-angle imagery such as from POLDER or MISR, greatly enhances the ability to retrieve aerosol properties by 2–3 degrees of freedom. We find that the improved capability to retrieve aerosol parameters significantly reduces interference errors introduced into retrieved CO2 and CH4 total column averages. Instead of focussing solely on improvements in spectral and spatial resolution, signal-to-noise ratios or sampling frequency, multiple angles reduce uncertainty in space based greenhouse gas retrievals more effectively and provide a new potential for dedicated aerosols retrievals.