Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
Research article
06 Feb 2012
Research article |  | 06 Feb 2012

Infrared measurements in the Arctic using two Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometers

Z. Mariani, K. Strong, M. Wolff, P. Rowe, V. Walden, P. F. Fogal, T. Duck, G. Lesins, D. S. Turner, C. Cox, E. Eloranta, J. R. Drummond, C. Roy, D. D. Turner, D. Hudak, and I. A. Lindenmaier

Abstract. The Extended-range Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (E-AERI) is a moderate resolution (1 cm−1) Fourier transform infrared spectrometer for measuring the absolute downwelling infrared spectral radiance from the atmosphere between 400 and 3000 cm−1. The extended spectral range of the instrument permits monitoring of the 400–550 cm−1 (20–25 μm) region, where most of the infrared surface cooling currently occurs in the dry air of the Arctic. Spectra from the E-AERI have the potential to provide information about radiative balance, trace gases, and cloud properties in the Canadian high Arctic. Calibration, performance evaluation, and certification of the E-AERI were performed at the University of Wisconsin Space Science and Engineering Centre from September to October 2008. The instrument was then installed at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) Ridge Lab (610 m altitude) at Eureka, Nunavut, in October 2008, where it acquired one year of data. Measurements are taken every seven minutes year-round, including polar night when the solar-viewing spectrometers at PEARL are not operated. A similar instrument, the University of Idaho's Polar AERI (P-AERI), was installed at the Zero-altitude PEARL Auxiliary Laboratory (0PAL), 15 km away from the PEARL Ridge Lab, from March 2006 to June 2009. During the period of overlap, these two instruments provided calibrated radiance measurements from two altitudes. A fast line-by-line radiative transfer model is used to simulate the downwelling radiance at both altitudes; the largest differences (simulation-measurement) occur in spectral regions strongly influenced by atmospheric temperature and/or water vapour. The two AERI instruments at close proximity but located at two different altitudes are well-suited for investigating cloud forcing. As an example, it is shown that a thin, low ice cloud resulted in a 6% increase in irradiance. The presence of clouds creates a large surface radiative forcing in the Arctic, particularly in the 750–1200 cm−1 region where the downwelling radiance is several times greater than clear-sky radiances, which is significantly larger than in other more humid regions.