Retrieving Layer-Averaged Tropospheric Humidity from Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder Water Vapor Channels

Isaac Moradi, Ralph R. Ferraro, Brian J. Soden, Patrick Eriksson, Phillip Arkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A method is presented to calculate layer-averaged tropospheric humidity (LAH) from the observations of the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) water vapor channels. The method is based on a linear relation between the satellite brightness temperatures (Tb) and natural logarithm of Jacobian weighted humidity. The empirical coefficients of this linear relation were calculated using different data sets, as well as a fast and a line-by-line radiative transfer (RT) model. It was found that the coefficients do not significantly depend on the data set or the RT model. This Tb to the LAH transformation method can be applied to either original or limb-corrected ATMS Tb's. The method was validated using both simulated and observed ATMS Tb's. The systematic difference between the estimated and calculated LAH values was less than 10% in most cases. We also tested the transformation method using a fixed Jacobian for each channel. The bias generally increases when fixed Jacobians are used, but there is still a satisfactory agreement between estimated and calculated LAH values. In addition, the spatial distribution of the bias was investigated using the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) Interim Reanalysis (ERA-interim) and collocated ATMS observations. The bias did not indicate any significant regional dependence when actual Jacobians were used, but in the case of fixed Jacobians, the bias generally increased from middle latitude toward the poles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7150548
Pages (from-to)6675-6688
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Climate change
  • hydrology
  • joint polar satellite system (JPSS)
  • microwave
  • remote sensing
  • water vapor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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