Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Research article
25 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 25 Feb 2011

Two-dimensional performance of MIPAS observation modes in the upper-troposphere/lower-stratosphere

M. Carlotti, E. Castelli, and E. Papandrea

Abstract. In this paper we analyze the performance of the three MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding) observation modes that sound the Upper-Troposphere/Lower-Stratosphere (UT/LS) region. The two-dimensional (2-D) tomographic retrieval approach is assumed to derive the atmospheric field of geophysical parameters. For each observation mode we have calculated the 2-D distribution of the information load quantifier relative to the main MIPAS targets. The performance of the observation modes has been evaluated in terms of strength and spatial coverage of the information-load distribution along the full orbit. The indications of the information-load analysis has been validated with simulated retrievals based on the observational parameters of real orbits. In the simulation studies we have assessed the precision and the spatial (both horizontal and vertical) resolution of the retrieval products. The performance of the three observation modes has been compared for the MIPAS main products in both the UT/LS and the extended altitude range. This study shows that the two observation modes that were specifically designed for the UT/LS region are actually competitive with the third one, designed for the whole stratosphere, up to altitudes that far exceed the UT/LS. In the UT/LS the performance of the two specific observation modes is comparable even if the best performance in terms of horizontal resolution is provided by the observation mode that was excluded by the European Space Agency (ESA) from the current MIPAS duty cycle. This paper reports the first application of the information-load analysis and highlights the worthiness of this approach to make qualitative considerations about retrieval potential and selection of retrieval grid.