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Volume 11, issue 10 | Copyright

Special issue: The Polar Stratosphere in a Changing Climate (POLSTRACC) (ACP/AMT...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 5901-5923, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-5901-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 Oct 2018

Research article | 25 Oct 2018

The MIPAS/Envisat climatology (2002–2012) of polar stratospheric cloud volume density profiles

Michael Höpfner1, Terry Deshler2, Michael Pitts3, Lamont Poole4, Reinhold Spang5, Gabriele Stiller1, and Thomas von Clarmann1 Michael Höpfner et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA
  • 3NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 4Science Systems and Applications, Incorporated, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 5Institut für Energie und Klimaforschung, Stratosphäre, IEK-7, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany

Abstract. A global data set of vertical profiles of polar stratospheric cloud (PSC) volume density has been derived from Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) space-borne infrared limb measurements between 2002 and 2012. To develop a well characterized and efficient retrieval scheme, systematic tests based on limb-radiance simulations for PSCs from in situ balloon observations have been performed. The finally selected wavenumber range was 831–832.5cm−1. Optical constants of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) have been used to derive maximum and minimum profiles of volume density which are compatible with MIPAS observations under the assumption of small, non-scattering and larger, scattering PSC particles. These max/min profiles deviate from their mean value at each altitude by about 40%–45%, which is attributed as the maximum systematic error of the retrieval. Further, the retrieved volume density profiles are characterized by a random error due to instrumental noise of 0.02–0.05µm3 cm−3, a detection limit of about 0.1–0.2µm3 cm−3 and a vertical resolution of around 3km. Comparisons with coincident observations by the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) on the CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations) satellite showed good agreement regarding the vertical profile shape. Quantitatively, in the case of supercooled ternary solution (STS) PSCs, the CALIOP dataset fits to the MIPAS retrievals obtained under the assumptions of small particles. Unlike for STS and NAT, in the case of ice PSCs the MIPAS retrievals are limited by the clouds becoming optically thick in the limb-direction. In these cases, the MIPAS volume densities represent lower limits. Among other interesting features, this climatology helps to study quantitatively the on-set of PSC formation very near to the South Pole and the large variability of the PSC volume densities between different Arctic stratospheric winters.

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Polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) have major relevance to the processes leading to polar ozone depletion. A good understanding of these particles is a prerequisite to predict their role in a changing climate. We present the first global set of PSC volume density profiles derived from the MIPAS satellite measurements covering the entire mission period between 2002 and 2012. A comparison to CALIOP lidar measurements is provided. The dataset can serve as a basis for evaluation of atmospheric models.
Polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) have major relevance to the processes leading to polar ozone...
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