Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 459-469, 2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
25 Jan 2007
First Odin sub-mm retrievals in the tropical upper troposphere: humidity and cloud ice signals
M. Ekström, P. Eriksson, B. Rydberg, and D. P. Murtagh Department of Radio and Space Science, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Abstract. Odin-SMR is a limb-sounder operating in the 500 GHz region with the capability of performing measurements down to altitudes of about 10 km with relatively low influence of ice clouds. Until now spectra from tropospheric tangent altitudes have been disregarded due to inadequate handling of scattering. A first method to extract upper tropospheric quantities has now been developed, yielding the humidity in two layers around 200 and 130 hPa and information on cloud ice content above 200 hPa. First results are compared with in situ MOZAIC measurements and presented to give a global view of the horizontal distribution. The seasonal structures are in agreement with other satellite measurements.

The main concern for these retrievals is the calibration performance. A careful analysis indicates a systematic calibration error of about 1 K, but also a random component that differs between the two bands. The random calibration uncertainty results in retrieval errors of 10–60% depending on humidity and band. Presently this prohibits use of single retrievals, but averages can be presented with good accuracy. The fixed calibration error can largely be removed, leaving the spectroscopic uncertainties to dominate the humidity retrieval accuracy, with a worst case estimate of 30%. However, the comparison of MOZAIC data and the measurements for the 200 hPa layer shows a systematic difference of <10%. This indicates that the actual systematic error is low and gives further confidence in the capability of Odin-SMR to measure humidity in the upper tropical troposphere.

Citation: Ekström, M., Eriksson, P., Rydberg, B., and Murtagh, D. P.: First Odin sub-mm retrievals in the tropical upper troposphere: humidity and cloud ice signals, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 459-469,, 2007.
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