Spectral Longwave Emission in the Tropics: FTIR Measurement at the Sea Surface and Comparison with Fast Radiation Codes

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  • 1 California Space Institute, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California
  • | 2 Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California
  • | 3 Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany
  • | 4 Meteorologisches Institut, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
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Abstract

Longwave emission by the tropical western Pacific atmosphere has been measured at the ocean surface by a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroradiometer deployed aboard the research vessel John Vickers as part of the Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment. The instrument operated throughout a Pacific Ocean crossing, beginning on 7 March 1993 in Honiara. Solomon Islands, and ending on 29 March 1993 in Los Angeles, and recorded longwave emission spectra under atmospheres associated with sea surface temperatures ranging from 291.0 to 302.8 K. Precipitable water vapor abundances ranged from 1.9 to 5.5 column centimeters. Measured emission spectra (downwelling zenith radiance) covered the middle infrared (5–20, μm) with one inverse centimeter spectral resolution. FTIR measurements made under an entirely clear field of view are compared with spectra generated by LOWTRAN 7 and MODTRAN 2, as well as downwelling flux calculated by the NCAR Community Climate Model (CCM-2) radiation code, using radiosonde profiles as input data for these calculations.

In the spectral interval 800–1000 cm−1, these comparisons show a discrepancy between FTIR data and MODTRAN 2 having an overall variability of 6–7 mW m−2 sr−1 cm and a concave shape that may be related to the representation of water vapor continuum emission in MODTRAN 2. Another discrepancy appears in the spectral interval 1200–1300 cm−1, where MODTRAN 2 appears to overestimate zenith radiance by 5 mW m−2 sr−1 cm. These discrepancies appear consistently; however, they become only slightly larger at the highest water vapor abundances. Because these radiance discrepancies correspond to broadband (500–2000 cm−1) flux uncertainties of around 3 W m−2, there appear to be no serious inadequacies with the performance of MODTRAN 2 or LOWTRAN 7 at high atmospheric temperatures and water vapor abundances. On average, CCM-2 flux calculations agree to within 1 W m−2 with downwelling flux estimates from the FTIR data over all sea surface temperatures, although this result has a scatter Of ±12 W m−2 at high sea surface temperatures.

Abstract

Longwave emission by the tropical western Pacific atmosphere has been measured at the ocean surface by a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroradiometer deployed aboard the research vessel John Vickers as part of the Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment. The instrument operated throughout a Pacific Ocean crossing, beginning on 7 March 1993 in Honiara. Solomon Islands, and ending on 29 March 1993 in Los Angeles, and recorded longwave emission spectra under atmospheres associated with sea surface temperatures ranging from 291.0 to 302.8 K. Precipitable water vapor abundances ranged from 1.9 to 5.5 column centimeters. Measured emission spectra (downwelling zenith radiance) covered the middle infrared (5–20, μm) with one inverse centimeter spectral resolution. FTIR measurements made under an entirely clear field of view are compared with spectra generated by LOWTRAN 7 and MODTRAN 2, as well as downwelling flux calculated by the NCAR Community Climate Model (CCM-2) radiation code, using radiosonde profiles as input data for these calculations.

In the spectral interval 800–1000 cm−1, these comparisons show a discrepancy between FTIR data and MODTRAN 2 having an overall variability of 6–7 mW m−2 sr−1 cm and a concave shape that may be related to the representation of water vapor continuum emission in MODTRAN 2. Another discrepancy appears in the spectral interval 1200–1300 cm−1, where MODTRAN 2 appears to overestimate zenith radiance by 5 mW m−2 sr−1 cm. These discrepancies appear consistently; however, they become only slightly larger at the highest water vapor abundances. Because these radiance discrepancies correspond to broadband (500–2000 cm−1) flux uncertainties of around 3 W m−2, there appear to be no serious inadequacies with the performance of MODTRAN 2 or LOWTRAN 7 at high atmospheric temperatures and water vapor abundances. On average, CCM-2 flux calculations agree to within 1 W m−2 with downwelling flux estimates from the FTIR data over all sea surface temperatures, although this result has a scatter Of ±12 W m−2 at high sea surface temperatures.

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