Articles | Volume 4, issue 12
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 2633–2657, 2011
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 4, 2633–2657, 2011

Research article 08 Dec 2011

Research article | 08 Dec 2011

Near infrared nadir retrieval of vertical column densities: methodology and application to SCIAMACHY

S. Gimeno García1,2, F. Schreier1, G. Lichtenberg1, and S. Slijkhuis1 S. Gimeno García et al.
  • 1DLR – German Aerospace Center, Remote Sensing Technology Institute, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling, Germany
  • 2TUM – Technical University of Munich, 80333 München, Germany

Abstract. Nadir observations with the shortwave infrared channels of SCIAMACHY on-board the ENVISAT satellite can be used to derive information on atmospheric gases such as CO, CH4, N2O, CO2, and H2O. For the operational level 1b-2 processing of SCIAMACHY data, a new retrieval code BIRRA (Beer InfraRed Retrieval Algorithm) has been developed. BIRRA performs a nonlinear or separable least squares fit (with bound constraints optional) of the measured radiance, where molecular concentration vertical profiles are scaled to fit the observed data. Here we present the forward modeling (radiative transfer) and inversion (least squares optimization) fundamentals of the code along with the further processing steps required to generate higher level products such as global distributions and time series. Moreover, various aspects of level 1 (observed spectra) and auxiliary input data relevant for successful retrievals are discussed. BIRRA is currently used for operational analysis of carbon monoxide vertical column densities from SCIAMACHY channel 8 observations, and is being prepared for methane retrievals using channel 6 spectra. A set of representative CO retrievals and first CH4 results are presented to demonstrate BIRRA's capabilities.