Continuous quality assessment of atmospheric water vapour measurement techniques: FTIR, Cimel, MFRSR, GPS, and Vaisala RS92
- 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), IMK-ASF, Karlsruhe, Germany
- 2Centro de Investigación Atmosférica de Izaña, Agencia Estatal de Meteorología, Spain
Abstract. At the Izaña Observatory, water vapour amounts have been measured routinely by different techniques for many years. We intercompare the total precipitable water vapour (PWV) amounts measured between 2005 and 2009 by a Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, a Multifilter Rotating Shadow-band Radiometer (MFRSR), a Cimel sunphotometer, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, and daily radiosondes (Vaisala RS92). The long-term characteristics of our study allows a reliable and extensive empirical quality assessment of long-term validity, which is an important prerequisite when applying the data to climate research. We estimate a PWV precision of 1% for the FTIR, about 10% for the MFRSR, Cimel, and GPS (when excluding rather dry conditions), and significantly better than 15% for the RS92 (the detection of different airmasses avoids a better constrained estimation). We show that the MFRSR, Cimel and GPS data quality depends on the atmospheric conditions (humid or dry) and that the restriction to clear-sky observations introduces a significant dry bias in the FTIR and Cimel data. In addition, we intercompare the water vapour profiles measured by the FTIR and the Vaisala RS92, which allows the conclusion that both experiments are able to detect lower to upper tropospheric water vapour mixing ratios with a precision of better than 15%.