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Steven J. Nieman, Johannes Schmetz, and W. Paul Menzel

Abstract

Satellite-derived cloud-motion vector (CMV) production has been troubled by inaccurate height assignment of cloud tracers, especially in thin semitransparent clouds. This paper presents the results of an intercomparison of current operational height assignment techniques. Currently, heights are assigned by one of three techniques when the appropriate spectral radiance measurements are available. The infrared window (IRW) technique compares measured brightness temperatures to forecast temperature profiles and thus infers opaque cloud levels. In semitransparent or small subpixel clouds, the carbon dioxide (CO2) technique uses the ratio of radiances from different layers of the atmosphere to infer the correct cloud height. In the water vapor (H2O) technique, radiances influenced by upper-tropospheric moisture and IRW radiances are measured for several pixels viewing different cloud amounts, and their linear relationship is used to extrapolate the correct cloud height. The results presented in this paper suggest that the H2O technique is a viable alternative to the CO2 technique for inferring the heights of semitransparent cloud elements. This is important since future National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) operations will have to rely on H20-derived cloud-height assignments in the wind field determinations with the next operational geostationary satellite. On a given day, the heights from the two approaches compare to within 60–110 hPa rms; drier atmospheric conditions tend to reduce the effectiveness of the H2O technique. By inference one can conclude that the present height algorithms used operationally at NESDIS (with the C02 technique) and at the European Satellite Operations Center (ESOC) (with their version of the H20 technique) are providing similar results. Sample wind fields produced with the ESOC and NESDIS algorithms using Meteosat-4 data show good agreement.

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K. Holmlund, J. Grandell, J. Schmetz, R. Stuhlmann, B. Bojkov, R. Munro, M. Lekouara, D. Coppens, B. Viticchie, T. August, B. Theodore, P. Watts, M. Dobber, G. Fowler, S. Bojinski, A. Schmid, K. Salonen, S. Tjemkes, D. Aminou, and P. Blythe

Abstract

Within the next couple of years, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) will start the deployment of its next-generation geostationary meteorological satellites. The Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) is composed of four imaging (MTG-I) and two sounding (MTG-S) platforms. The satellites are three-axis stabilized, unlike the two previous generations of Meteosat that were spin stabilized, and carry two sets of remote sensing instruments each. Hence, in addition to providing continuity, the new system will provide an unprecedented capability from geostationary orbit. The payload on the MTG-I satellites are the 16-channel Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) and the Lightning Imager (LI). The payloads on the MTG-S satellites are the hyperspectral Infrared Sounder (IRS) and a high-resolution Ultraviolet–Visible–Near-Infrared (UVN) sounder Sentinel-4/UVN, provided by the European Commission. Today, hyperspectral sounding from geostationary orbit is provided by the Chinese Fengyun-4A (FY-4A) satellite Geostationary Interferometric Infrared Sounder (GIIRS) instrument, and lightning mappers are available on FY-4A and on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) GOES-16 and GOES-17 satellites. Consequently, the development of science and applications for these types of instruments have a solid foundation. However, the IRS, LI, and Sentinel-4/UVN are a challenging first for Europe in a geostationary orbit. The four MTG-I and two MTG-S satellites are designed to provide 20 and 15.5 years of operational service, respectively. The launch of the first MTG-I is expected at the end of 2022 and the first MTG-S roughly a year later. This article describes the four instruments, outlines products and services, and addresses the evolution of the further applications.

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M. Goldberg, G. Ohring, J. Butler, C. Cao, R. Datla, D. Doelling, V. Gärtner, T. Hewison, B. Iacovazzi, D. Kim, T. Kurino, J. Lafeuille, P. Minnis, D. Renaut, J. Schmetz, D. Tobin, L. Wang, F. Weng, X. Wu, F. Yu, P. Zhang, and T. Zhu

The Global Space-based Inter-Calibration System (GSICS) is a new international program to assure the comparability of satellite measurements taken at different times and locations by different instruments operated by different satellite agencies. Sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization and the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites, GSICS will intercalibrate the instruments of the international constellation of operational low-earth-orbiting (LEO) and geostationary earth-orbiting (GEO) environmental satellites and tie these to common reference standards. The intercomparability of the observations will result in more accurate measurements for assimilation in numerical weather prediction models, construction of more reliable climate data records, and progress toward achieving the societal goals of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems. GSICS includes globally coordinated activities for prelaunch instrument characterization, onboard routine calibration, sensor intercomparison of near-simultaneous observations of individual scenes or overlapping time series, vicarious calibration using Earth-based or celestial references, and field campaigns. An initial strategy uses high-accuracy satellite instruments, such as the NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT)'s Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), as space-based reference standards for intercalibrating the operational satellite sensors. Examples of initial intercalibration results and future plans are presented. Agencies participating in the program include the Centre National d'Études Spatiales, China Meteorological Administration, EUMETSAT, Japan Meteorological Agency, Korea Meteorological Administration, NASA, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and NOAA.

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B. Soden, S. Tjemkes, J. Schmetz, R. Saunders, J. Bates, B. Ellingson, R. Engelen, L. Garand, D. Jackson, G. Jedlovec, T. Kleespies, D. Randel, P. Rayer, E. Salathe, D. Schwarzkopf, N. Scott, B. Sohn, S. de Souza-Machado, L. Strow, D. Tobin, D. Turner, P. van Delst, and T. Wehr

An intercomparison of radiation codes used in retrieving upper-tropospheric humidity (UTH) from observations in the ν2 (6.3 μm) water vapor absorption band was performed. This intercomparison is one part of a coordinated effort within the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment Water Vapor Project to assess our ability to monitor the distribution and variations of upper-tropospheric moisture from spaceborne sensors. A total of 23 different codes, ranging from detailed line-by-line (LBL) models, to coarser-resolution narrowband (NB) models, to highly parameterized single-band (SB) models participated in the study. Forward calculations were performed using a carefully selected set of temperature and moisture profiles chosen to be representative of a wide range of atmospheric conditions. The LBL model calculations exhibited the greatest consistency with each other, typically agreeing to within 0.5 K in terms of the equivalent blackbody brightness temperature (Tb). The majority of NB and SB models agreed to within ±1 K of the LBL models, although a few older models exhibited systematic Tb biases in excess of 2 K. A discussion of the discrepancies between various models, their association with differences in model physics (e.g., continuum absorption), and their implications for UTH retrieval and radiance assimilation is presented.

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