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Inference of Marine Atmospheric Boundary Layer Moisture and Temperature Structure Using Airborne Lidar and Infrared Radiometer Data

Stephen P. PalmScience Systems and Applications Incorporated, Lanham, Maryland

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Denise HaganJet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

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Geary SchwemmerLaboratory for Atmospheres, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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S. H. MelfiUniversity of Maryland, Catonsville, Maryland

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Abstract

A new technique for retrieving near-surface moisture and profiles of mixing ratio and potential temperature through the depth of the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) using airborne lidar and multichannel infrared radiometer data is presented. Data gathered during an extended field campaign over the Atlantic Ocean in support of the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment are used to generate 16 moisture and temperature retrievals that are then compared with dropsonde measurements. The technique utilizes lidar-derived statistics on the height of cumulus clouds that frequently cap the MABL to estimate the lifting condensation level. Combining this information with radiometer-derived sea surface temperature measurements, an estimate of the near-surface moisture can be obtained to an accuracy of about 0.8 g kg−1. Lidar-derived statistics on convective plume height and coverage within the MABL are then used to infer the profiles of potential temperature and moisture with a vertical resolution of 20 m. The rms accuracy of derived MABL average moisture and potential temperature is better than 1 g kg−1 and 1°C, respectively. The method relies on the presence of a cumulus-capped MABL, and it was found that the conditions necessary for use of the technique occurred roughly 75% of the time. The synergy of simple aerosol backscatter lidar and infrared radiometer data also shows promise for the retrieval of MABL moisture and temperature from space.

Corresponding author address: Stephen P. Palm, Code 912, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771.

spp@virl.gsfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

A new technique for retrieving near-surface moisture and profiles of mixing ratio and potential temperature through the depth of the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) using airborne lidar and multichannel infrared radiometer data is presented. Data gathered during an extended field campaign over the Atlantic Ocean in support of the Lidar In-space Technology Experiment are used to generate 16 moisture and temperature retrievals that are then compared with dropsonde measurements. The technique utilizes lidar-derived statistics on the height of cumulus clouds that frequently cap the MABL to estimate the lifting condensation level. Combining this information with radiometer-derived sea surface temperature measurements, an estimate of the near-surface moisture can be obtained to an accuracy of about 0.8 g kg−1. Lidar-derived statistics on convective plume height and coverage within the MABL are then used to infer the profiles of potential temperature and moisture with a vertical resolution of 20 m. The rms accuracy of derived MABL average moisture and potential temperature is better than 1 g kg−1 and 1°C, respectively. The method relies on the presence of a cumulus-capped MABL, and it was found that the conditions necessary for use of the technique occurred roughly 75% of the time. The synergy of simple aerosol backscatter lidar and infrared radiometer data also shows promise for the retrieval of MABL moisture and temperature from space.

Corresponding author address: Stephen P. Palm, Code 912, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771.

spp@virl.gsfc.nasa.gov

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