Articles | Volume 4, issue 11
Research article
29 Nov 2011
Research article |  | 29 Nov 2011

Stratospheric methane profiles from SCIAMACHY solar occultation measurements derived with onion peeling DOAS

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

Abstract. Stratospheric methane (CH4) profiles have been derived from solar occultation measurements of the SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CHartographY (SCIAMACHY) on ENVISAT with an updated version of the Onion Peeling DOAS (ONPD) method. The SCIAMACHY solar occultation measurements cover the latitudinal range between about 50° N and 70° N. Currently, reasonable results are obtained between 20 and 40 km altitude. Comparisons with correlative ACE-FTS measurements show an average agreement within the expected accuracy of the ACE-FTS data of about 10%. To demonstrate the capability of SCIAMACHY solar occultation measurements in the context of greenhouse gas monitoring, time series of stratospheric CH4 profiles covering the period from 2003 to 2010 have been generated. The SCIAMACHY CH4 profile solar occultation temporal series shows a strong seasonal cycle. This is attributed to the variations in both time and space of the retrieved data set. At lower altitudes, the observed temporal variations are explained by variations of the tropopause height. The temporal data set is also impacted by variations of the size and duration of the polar vortex in the northern hemisphere. The data set provides unique information about CH4 changes in the stratosphere at mid to high latitudes.