The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-8) temperature–moisture retrievals were compared with collocated National Weather Service radiosonde observations (RAOBs) to assess retrieval performance. Retrieved values of temperature and dewpoint were evaluated at individual levels. Precipitable water and thickness also were evaluated, and the GOES-8 retrievals were compared with the first-guess data used in the algorithm. The dataset consisted of 1113 RAOB–retrieval pairs (collocated to within 50 km) over the United States at 1200 UTC during August–November 1995.
GOES-8 temperature retrievals were found to agree better with their RAOB-derived counterparts than did the dewpoints. However, both temperatures and dewpoints were found to be highly dependent on their first-guess data from the Nested Grid Model. Retrievals generally were closer to the RAOBs than was the first guess. However, this was never guaranteed, even for large first-guess discrepancies. In fact, some retrievals did not agree as well with the RAOBs as did the first guess.
GOES-8 and RAOB-derived precipitable water (PW) and thickness showed closer agreement than the level-specific data. Both integrated parameters were dependent on their first guess. However, GOES-8 and RAOB PW agreed more often in layers above the surface where the guess was less accurate.
Comparison with a previous evaluation of retrievals from the Visible and Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) indicated that GOES-8 retrievals agreed better with RAOBs than did the VAS versions. This improvement is likely due to GOES-8’s increased number of channels and better signal-to-noise values, along with the assumed increase in quality of the first-guess data being used.
Corresponding author address: P. Anil Rao, Department of Meteorology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520.