Retrieval and validation of MetOp/IASI methane
Abstract. A new IASI methane product developed at the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) is presented. The retrievals are performed with the ASIMUT-ALVL software based on the optimal estimation method (OEM). This paper gives an overview of the forward model and retrieval concept. The usefulness of reconstructed principal component compressed (PCC) radiances is highlighted. The information content study carried out in this paper shows that most IASI pixels contain between 0.9 and 1.6 independent pieces of information about the vertical distribution of CH4, with a good sensitivity in the mid- to upper troposphere. A detailed error analysis was performed. The total uncertainty is estimated to be 3.73 % for a CH4 partial column between 4 and 17 km. An extended validation with ground-based CH4 observations at 10 locations was carried out. IASI CH4 partial columns are found to correlate well with the ground-based data for 6 out of the 10 Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) stations with correlation coefficients between 0.60 and 0.84. Relative mean differences between IASI and FTIR CH4 range between −2.31 and 4.04 % and are within the systematic uncertainty. For 6 out of the 10 stations the relative mean differences are smaller than ±1 %. The standard deviation of the difference lies between 1.76 and 2.97 % for all the stations.