Articles | Volume 11, issue 7
Research article
18 Jul 2018
Research article |  | 18 Jul 2018

All-sky information content analysis for novel passive microwave instruments in the range from 23.8 to 874.4 GHz

Verena Grützun, Stefan A. Buehler, Lukas Kluft, Jana Mendrok, Manfred Brath, and Patrick Eriksson

Abstract. We perform an all-sky information content analysis for channels in the millimetre and sub-millimetre wavelength with 24 channels in the region from 23.8 to 874.4 GHz. The employed set of channels corresponds to the instruments ISMAR and MARSS, which are available on the British FAAM research aircraft, and it is complemented by two precipitation channels at low frequencies from Deimos. The channels also cover ICI, which will be part of the MetOp-SG mission. We use simulated atmospheres from the ICON model as basis for the study and quantify the information content with the reduction of degrees of freedom (ΔDOF). The required Jacobians are calculated with the radiative transfer model ARTS. Specifically we focus on the dependence of the information content on the atmospheric composition. In general we find a high information content for the frozen hydrometeors, which mainly comes from the higher frequency channels beyond 183.31 GHz (on average 3.10 for cloud ice and 2.57 for snow). Considerable information about the microphysical properties, especially for cloud ice, can be gained. The information content about the liquid hydrometeors comes from the lower frequency channels. It is 1.69 for liquid cloud water and 1.08 for rain using the full set of channels. The Jacobians for a specific cloud hydrometeor strongly depend on the atmospheric composition. Especially for the liquid hydrometeors the Jacobians even change sign in some cases. However, the information content is robust across different atmospheric compositions. For liquid hydrometeors the information content decreases in the presence of any frozen hydrometeor, for the frozen hydrometeors it decreases slightly in the presence of the respective other frozen hydrometeor. Due to the lack of channels below 183 GHz liquid hydrometeors are hardly seen by ICI. However, the overall results with regard to the frozen hydrometeors also hold for the ICI sensor. This points to ICI's great ability to observe ice clouds from space on a global scale with a good spatial coverage in unprecedented detail.

Short summary
The global observation of ice clouds is crucial because they are important factors in the climate system but still are amongst the greatest uncertainties for estimating the Earth's energy budget in a changing climate. However, reliable global long-term measurements are scarce. Using atmospheric model data from the ICON model in combination with the radiative transfer simulator ARTS we explore the potential of passive millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelength measurements to fill that gap.