Possible Near-IR Channels for Remote Sensing Precipitable Water Vapor from Geostationary Satellite Platforms

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  • a Center for the Study of Earth from Space/CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • | b Center for the Study of Earth from Space/CIRES and Department of Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • | c NOAA/ERL/Wave Propagation Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado
  • | d Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
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Abstract

Remote sensing of tropospheric water vapor profiles from current geostationary weather satellites is made using a few broadband infrared (IR) channels in the 6–13-µm region. Uncertainties greater than 20% exist in derived water vapor values just above the surface from the IR emission measurements. In this paper, we propose three near-IR channels, one within the 0.94-µm water vapor hand absorption region, and the other two in nearby atmospheric windows, for remote sensing of precipitable water vapor over land areas, excluding lakes and rivers, during daytime from future geostationary satellite platforms. The physical principles are as follows. The reflectance of most surface targets varies approximately linearly with wavelength near 1 µm. The solar radiation on the sun-surface-sensor ray path is attenuated by atmospheric water vapor. The ratio of the radiance from the absorption channel with the radiances from the two window channels removes the surface reflectance effects and yields approximately the mean atmospheric water vapor transmittance of the absorption channel. The integrated water vapor amount from ground to space can be obtained with a precision of better than 5% from the mean transmittance. Because surface reflectances vary slowly with time, temporal variation of precipitable water vapor can be determined reliably. High spatial resolution, precipitable water vapor images are derived from spectral data collected by the Airborne Visible-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer, which measures solar radiation reflected by the surface in the 0.4–2.5-µm region in 10-nm channels and has a ground instantaneous field of view of 20 m from its platform on an ER-2 aircraft at 20 km. The proposed near-IR reflectance technique would complement the IR emission techniques for remote sensing of water vapor profiles from geostationary satellite platforms, especially in the boundary layer where most of the water vapor is located.

Abstract

Remote sensing of tropospheric water vapor profiles from current geostationary weather satellites is made using a few broadband infrared (IR) channels in the 6–13-µm region. Uncertainties greater than 20% exist in derived water vapor values just above the surface from the IR emission measurements. In this paper, we propose three near-IR channels, one within the 0.94-µm water vapor hand absorption region, and the other two in nearby atmospheric windows, for remote sensing of precipitable water vapor over land areas, excluding lakes and rivers, during daytime from future geostationary satellite platforms. The physical principles are as follows. The reflectance of most surface targets varies approximately linearly with wavelength near 1 µm. The solar radiation on the sun-surface-sensor ray path is attenuated by atmospheric water vapor. The ratio of the radiance from the absorption channel with the radiances from the two window channels removes the surface reflectance effects and yields approximately the mean atmospheric water vapor transmittance of the absorption channel. The integrated water vapor amount from ground to space can be obtained with a precision of better than 5% from the mean transmittance. Because surface reflectances vary slowly with time, temporal variation of precipitable water vapor can be determined reliably. High spatial resolution, precipitable water vapor images are derived from spectral data collected by the Airborne Visible-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer, which measures solar radiation reflected by the surface in the 0.4–2.5-µm region in 10-nm channels and has a ground instantaneous field of view of 20 m from its platform on an ER-2 aircraft at 20 km. The proposed near-IR reflectance technique would complement the IR emission techniques for remote sensing of water vapor profiles from geostationary satellite platforms, especially in the boundary layer where most of the water vapor is located.

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