Articles | Volume 3, issue 2
29 Apr 2010
 | 29 Apr 2010

Water vapour profiles from SCIAMACHY solar occultation measurements derived with an onion peeling approach

S. Noël, K. Bramstedt, A. Rozanov, H. Bovensmann, and J. P. Burrows

Abstract. A new retrieval method has been developed to derive water vapour number density profiles from solar occultation measurements of the SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY). This method is intentionally kept simple and based on a combination of an onion peeling approach with a modified DOAS (Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy) fit in the wavelength region around 940 nm. Reasonable resulting water vapour profiles are currently obtained in the altitude range 15–45 km. Comparisons of the SCIAMACHY profiles with water vapour data provided by the Atmospheric Chemistry Explorer Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS) show an average agreement within about 5% between 20 and 45 km. SCIAMACHY water vapour data tend to be systematically higher than ACE-FTS. These results are in principal confirmed by comparisons with water vapour profiles derived from model data of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), although ECMWF concentrations are systematicly lower than both corresponding SCIAMACHY and ACE-FTS data at all altitudes.