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The Limb Adjustment of AMSU-A Observations: Methodology and Validation

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  • a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Office of Research and Applications, Washington, D.C.
  • | b National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, Office of Research and Applications, Washington, D.C., and American University, Washington, D.C.
  • | c QSS Group Inc., Lanham, Maryland
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Abstract

The Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) is the first of a new generation of polar-orbiting cross-track microwave sounders operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A feature of a cross-track sounder is that the measurements vary with scan angle because of the change in the optical pathlength between the earth and the satellite. This feature is called the limb effect and can be as much as 30 K. One approach to this problem is to limb adjust the measurements to a fixed view angle. This approach was used for the older series of Microwave Sounding Units. Limb adjusting is important for climate applications and regression retrieval algorithms. This paper describes and evaluates several limb adjustment procedures. The recommended procedure uses a combined physical and statistical technique. The limb adjusted measurements were compared with computed radiances from radiosondes and National Centers for Environmental Prediction models. The model error was found to be less than the instrument noise for most of the temperature sounding channels. The error in the window channels was small relative to the observed range of these channels. Limb adjusted fields appear to be smooth. Statistical tests of the distributions of the adjusted measurements at each scan angle show them to be very similar.

Corresponding author address: Mitchell D. Goldberg, NOAA/NESDIS, 5200 Auth Road, Rm. 810, Camp Springs, MD 20746.

mgoldberg@nesdis.noaa.gov

Abstract

The Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit-A (AMSU-A) is the first of a new generation of polar-orbiting cross-track microwave sounders operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A feature of a cross-track sounder is that the measurements vary with scan angle because of the change in the optical pathlength between the earth and the satellite. This feature is called the limb effect and can be as much as 30 K. One approach to this problem is to limb adjust the measurements to a fixed view angle. This approach was used for the older series of Microwave Sounding Units. Limb adjusting is important for climate applications and regression retrieval algorithms. This paper describes and evaluates several limb adjustment procedures. The recommended procedure uses a combined physical and statistical technique. The limb adjusted measurements were compared with computed radiances from radiosondes and National Centers for Environmental Prediction models. The model error was found to be less than the instrument noise for most of the temperature sounding channels. The error in the window channels was small relative to the observed range of these channels. Limb adjusted fields appear to be smooth. Statistical tests of the distributions of the adjusted measurements at each scan angle show them to be very similar.

Corresponding author address: Mitchell D. Goldberg, NOAA/NESDIS, 5200 Auth Road, Rm. 810, Camp Springs, MD 20746.

mgoldberg@nesdis.noaa.gov

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