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Comparison of Column Water Vapor Measurements Using Downward-looking Near-Infrared and Infrared Imaging Systems and Upward-looking Microwave Radiometers

Bo-Cai GaoCenter for the Study of Earth from Space, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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Alexander F. H. GoetzCenter for the Study of Earth from Space, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

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Ed R. WestwaterNOAA/ERL Wave Propagation Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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B. Boba StankovNOAA/ERL Wave Propagation Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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D. BirkenheuerCooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Fort Collins, Colorado
NOAA/ERL Forest System Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Remote soundings of precipitable water vapor from three systems are compared with each other and with ground truth from radiosondes. Ancillary data from a mesoscale network of surface observing stations and from wind-profiling radars are also used in the analysis. The three remote-sounding techniques are: (a) a reflectance technique using spectral data collected by the Airborne Visible-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS); (b) an emission technique using Visible-Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR) Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) data acquired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES); and (c) a microwave technique using data from a limited network of three ground-based dual-channel microwave radiometers. The data were taken over the Front Range of eastern Colorado on 22–23 March 1990. The generally small differences between the three types of rernote-sounding measurements are consistent with the horizontal and temporal resolutions of the instruments. The microwave and optical reflectance measurements agreed to within 0. 1 cm; comparisons of the microwave data with radiosondes were also either that good or explainable. The largest differences between the VAS and the microwave radiometer at Elbert were between 0.4 and 0.5 cm and appear to he due to variable terrain within the satellite footprint.

Abstract

Remote soundings of precipitable water vapor from three systems are compared with each other and with ground truth from radiosondes. Ancillary data from a mesoscale network of surface observing stations and from wind-profiling radars are also used in the analysis. The three remote-sounding techniques are: (a) a reflectance technique using spectral data collected by the Airborne Visible-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS); (b) an emission technique using Visible-Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR) Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) data acquired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES); and (c) a microwave technique using data from a limited network of three ground-based dual-channel microwave radiometers. The data were taken over the Front Range of eastern Colorado on 22–23 March 1990. The generally small differences between the three types of rernote-sounding measurements are consistent with the horizontal and temporal resolutions of the instruments. The microwave and optical reflectance measurements agreed to within 0. 1 cm; comparisons of the microwave data with radiosondes were also either that good or explainable. The largest differences between the VAS and the microwave radiometer at Elbert were between 0.4 and 0.5 cm and appear to he due to variable terrain within the satellite footprint.

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