Retrieval of Precipitable Water from Observations in the Split Window over Varying Surface Temperatures

Thomas J. Kleespies Geophysics Laboratory, Air Force Systems Command, Hanscom AFB, Bedford, Massachusetts

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Larry M. McMillin National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Washington D.C.

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Abstract

The split window technique makes use of two differentially absorbing channels in the 11 μm region to remove the attenuating effects of atmospheric absorption so as to achieve a better estimate of the underlying skin temperature than could be produced by a single channel measurement. Since the primary absorber in this region is water vapor, it follows that split window measurements should be able to produce bulk water vapor retrievals as well. When observations are made with split window channels under conditions where the surface contribution to measured radiance changes, but the atmospheric contribution does not, it is possible to estimate the ratio of the transmittance of the two split window channels. This transmittance ratio is inversely related to precipitable water. This paper applies this technique to observations from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, and the VISSR Atmospheric Sounder, and demonstrates the capability of both instruments to determine precipitable water under two different operational scenarios.

Abstract

The split window technique makes use of two differentially absorbing channels in the 11 μm region to remove the attenuating effects of atmospheric absorption so as to achieve a better estimate of the underlying skin temperature than could be produced by a single channel measurement. Since the primary absorber in this region is water vapor, it follows that split window measurements should be able to produce bulk water vapor retrievals as well. When observations are made with split window channels under conditions where the surface contribution to measured radiance changes, but the atmospheric contribution does not, it is possible to estimate the ratio of the transmittance of the two split window channels. This transmittance ratio is inversely related to precipitable water. This paper applies this technique to observations from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, and the VISSR Atmospheric Sounder, and demonstrates the capability of both instruments to determine precipitable water under two different operational scenarios.

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