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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 2579-2605, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Dec 2011
Measurements of Humidity in the Atmosphere and Validation Experiments (MOHAVE)-2009: overview of campaign operations and results
T. Leblanc1, T. D. Walsh1, I. S. McDermid1, G. C. Toon2, J.-F. Blavier2, B. Haines2, W. G. Read2, B. Herman2, E. Fetzer2, S. Sander2, T. Pongetti2, D. N. Whiteman3, T. G. McGee3, L. Twigg3, G. Sumnicht3, D. Venable4, M. Calhoun4, A. Dirisu5, D. Hurst6, A. Jordan6, E. Hall6, L. Miloshevich7, H. Vömel8, C. Straub9, N. Kampfer9, G. E. Nedoluha10, R. M. Gomez10, K. Holub11, S. Gutman11, J. Braun12, T. Vanhove12, G. Stiller13, and A. Hauchecorne14 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Wrightwood, CA 92397, USA
2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
4Howard University, Beltsville, MD, USA
5NASA/Oak Ridge Associated Universities, USA
6Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
7Milo Scientific LLC, Lafayette, CO 80026, USA
8Deutscher Wetterdienst, Richard Aßmann Observatory, Lindenberg, Germany
9Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern, Switzerland
10Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7227, Washington, DC 20375, USA
11NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
12UCAR, National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
13Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe, Germany
Abstract. The Measurements of Humidity in the Atmosphere and Validation Experiment (MOHAVE) 2009 campaign took place on 11–27 October 2009 at the JPL Table Mountain Facility in California (TMF). The main objectives of the campaign were to (1) validate the water vapor measurements of several instruments, including, three Raman lidars, two microwave radiometers, two Fourier-Transform spectrometers, and two GPS receivers (column water), (2) cover water vapor measurements from the ground to the mesopause without gaps, and (3) study upper tropospheric humidity variability at timescales varying from a few minutes to several days.

A total of 58 radiosondes and 20 Frost-Point hygrometer sondes were launched. Two types of radiosondes were used during the campaign. Non negligible differences in the readings between the two radiosonde types used (Vaisala RS92 and InterMet iMet-1) made a small, but measurable impact on the derivation of water vapor mixing ratio by the Frost-Point hygrometers. As observed in previous campaigns, the RS92 humidity measurements remained within 5% of the Frost-point in the lower and mid-troposphere, but were too dry in the upper troposphere.

Over 270 h of water vapor measurements from three Raman lidars (JPL and GSFC) were compared to RS92, CFH, and NOAA-FPH. The JPL lidar profiles reached 20 km when integrated all night, and 15 km when integrated for 1 h. Excellent agreement between this lidar and the frost-point hygrometers was found throughout the measurement range, with only a 3% (0.3 ppmv) mean wet bias for the lidar in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). The other two lidars provided satisfactory results in the lower and mid-troposphere (2–5% wet bias over the range 3–10 km), but suffered from contamination by fluorescence (wet bias ranging from 5 to 50% between 10 km and 15 km), preventing their use as an independent measurement in the UTLS.

The comparison between all available stratospheric sounders allowed to identify only the largest biases, in particular a 10% dry bias of the Water Vapor Millimeter-wave Spectrometer compared to the Aura-Microwave Limb Sounder. No other large, or at least statistically significant, biases could be observed.

Total Precipitable Water (TPW) measurements from six different co-located instruments were available. Several retrieval groups provided their own TPW retrievals, resulting in the comparison of 10 different datasets. Agreement within 7% (0.7 mm) was found between all datasets. Such good agreement illustrates the maturity of these measurements and raises confidence levels for their use as an alternate or complementary source of calibration for the Raman lidars.

Tropospheric and stratospheric ozone and temperature measurements were also available during the campaign. The water vapor and ozone lidar measurements, together with the advected potential vorticity results from the high-resolution transport model MIMOSA, allowed the identification and study of a deep stratospheric intrusion over TMF. These observations demonstrated the lidar strong potential for future long-term monitoring of water vapor in the UTLS.

Citation: Leblanc, T., Walsh, T. D., McDermid, I. S., Toon, G. C., Blavier, J.-F., Haines, B., Read, W. G., Herman, B., Fetzer, E., Sander, S., Pongetti, T., Whiteman, D. N., McGee, T. G., Twigg, L., Sumnicht, G., Venable, D., Calhoun, M., Dirisu, A., Hurst, D., Jordan, A., Hall, E., Miloshevich, L., Vömel, H., Straub, C., Kampfer, N., Nedoluha, G. E., Gomez, R. M., Holub, K., Gutman, S., Braun, J., Vanhove, T., Stiller, G., and Hauchecorne, A.: Measurements of Humidity in the Atmosphere and Validation Experiments (MOHAVE)-2009: overview of campaign operations and results, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 2579-2605,, 2011.
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