A satellite-Based assessment of upper-tropospheric water vapor measurements during AFWEX

Eui Seok Chung, Brian J. Soden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Consistency of upper-tropospheric water vapor measurements from a variety of state-of-the-art instruments was assessed using collocated Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-8 (GOES-8) 6.7-μm brightness temperatures as a common benchmark during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Water Vapor Experiment (AFWEX). To avoid uncertainties associated with the inversion of satellite-measured radiances into water vapor quantity, profiles of temperature and humidity observed from in situ, ground-based, and airborne instruments are inserted into a radiative transfer model to simulate the brightness temperature that the GOES-8 would have observed under those conditions (i.e., profile-to-radiance approach). Comparisons showed that Vaisala RS80-H radiosondes and Meteolabor Snow White chilled-mirror dewpoint hygrometers are systemically drier in the upper troposphere by ~30%-40% relative to the GOES-8 measured upper-tropospheric humidity (UTH). By contrast, two ground-based Raman lidars (Cloud and Radiation Test Bed Raman lidar and scanning Raman lidar) and one airborne differential absorption lidar agree to within 10% of the GOES-8 measured UTH. These results indicate that upper-tropospheric water vapor can be monitored by these lidars and well-calibrated, stable geostationary satellites with an uncertainty of less than 10%, and that correction procedures are required to rectify the inherent deficiencies of humidity measurements in the upper troposphere from these radiosondes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2284-2294
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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