An Algorithm for Retrieving Water Vapor Profiles in Clear and Cloudy Atmospheres from 183 GHz Radiometric Measurements: Simulation Studies

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  • 1 Laboratory For Oceans, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
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Abstract

The latent heat represented by atmospheric water vapor is extremely important to the energetics of the Earth system. Future satellite (NOAA and DMSP) will carry microwave radiometers designed to measure the profile of water vapor globally. The problem of retrieving water vapor from the measurements is highly nonlinear even in clear atmospheres and the addition of clouds only makes it more so. In this paper, an algorithm with several novel features, which will retrieve water vapor profiles from microwave radiometric measurements even in the presence of clouds, is developed. Simulations with this algorithm show a vertical resolution on the order of 3 km and that clouds are well handled in many, but not all, circumstances. The most surprising result is that clouds can actually improve the vertical resolution of the retrieval.

Abstract

The latent heat represented by atmospheric water vapor is extremely important to the energetics of the Earth system. Future satellite (NOAA and DMSP) will carry microwave radiometers designed to measure the profile of water vapor globally. The problem of retrieving water vapor from the measurements is highly nonlinear even in clear atmospheres and the addition of clouds only makes it more so. In this paper, an algorithm with several novel features, which will retrieve water vapor profiles from microwave radiometric measurements even in the presence of clouds, is developed. Simulations with this algorithm show a vertical resolution on the order of 3 km and that clouds are well handled in many, but not all, circumstances. The most surprising result is that clouds can actually improve the vertical resolution of the retrieval.

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