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Volume 9, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: Limb observations of the middle atmosphere by space- and airborne...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 133-158, 2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Jan 2016

Research article | 18 Jan 2016

UTLS water vapour from SCIAMACHY limb measurementsV3.01 (2002–2012)

K. Weigel1, A. Rozanov1, F. Azam1, K. Bramstedt1, R. Damadeo2, K.-U. Eichmann1, C. Gebhardt1,a, D. Hurst3,4, M. Kraemer5, S. Lossow6, W. Read7, N. Spelten5, G. P. Stiller6, K. A. Walker8, M. Weber1, H. Bovensmann1, and J. P. Burrows1 K. Weigel et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics – IUP, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, USA
  • 3Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 4Global Monitoring Division, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 5Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Institute for Energy and Climate Research – Stratosphere IEK-7, Jülich, Germany
  • 6Karlsruhe Institute of Technology – KIT, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research – IMK, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 7Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
  • 8Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • anow at: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. – DLR, Earth Observation Center, Bremen, Germany

Abstract. The SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) aboard the Envisat satellite provided measurements from August 2002 until April 2012. SCIAMACHY measured the scattered or direct sunlight using different observation geometries. The limb viewing geometry allows the retrieval of water vapour at about 10–25km height from the near-infrared spectral range (1353–1410nm). These data cover the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS), a region in the atmosphere which is of special interest for a variety of dynamical and chemical processes as well as for the radiative forcing. Here, the latest data version of water vapour (V3.01) from SCIAMACHY limb measurements is presented and validated by comparisons with data sets from other satellite and in situ measurements. Considering retrieval tests and the results of these comparisons, the V3.01 data are reliable from about 11 to 23km and the best results are found in the middle of the profiles between about 14 and 20 km. Above 20km in the extra tropics V3.01 is drier than all other data sets. Additionally, for altitudes above about 19 km, the vertical resolution of the retrieved profile is not sufficient to resolve signals with a short vertical structure like the tape recorder. Below 14km, SCIAMACHY water vapour V3.01 is wetter than most collocated data sets, but the high variability of water vapour in the troposphere complicates the comparison. For 14–20km height, the expected errors from the retrieval and simulations and the mean differences to collocated data sets are usually smaller than 10 % when the resolution of the SCIAMACHY data is taken into account. In general, the temporal changes agree well with collocated data sets except for the Northern Hemisphere extratropical stratosphere, where larger differences are observed. This indicates a possible drift in V3.01 most probably caused by the incomplete treatment of volcanic aerosols in the retrieval. In all other regions a good temporal stability is shown. In the tropical stratosphere an increase in water vapour is found between 2002 and 2012, which is in agreement with other satellite data sets for overlapping time periods.

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Short summary
The SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) aboard the Envisat satellite provided measurements between 2002 and 2012 with different viewing geometries. The limb viewing geometry allows the retrieval of water vapour profiles in the UTLS (upper troposphere and lower stratosphere) from the near-infrared spectral range (1353–1410 nm). Here, we present data version 3.01 and compare it to other water vapour data.
The SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) aboard the...