Articles | Volume 6, issue 4
Research article
29 Apr 2013
Research article |  | 29 Apr 2013

Assessment of COSMIC radio occultation retrieval product using global radiosonde data

B.-R. Wang, X.-Y. Liu, and J.-K. Wang

Abstract. The radio occultation retrieval product of the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) Radio Occultation sounding system was verified using the global radiosonde data from 2007 to 2010. Samples of 4 yr were used to collect quantities of data using much stricter matching criteria than previous studies to obtain more accurate results. The horizontal distance between the radiosonde station and the occultation event is within 100 km, and the time window is 1 h. The comparison was performed from 925 hPa to 10 hPa. The results indicated that the COSMIC's temperature data agreed well with the radiosonde data. The global mean temperature bias was −0.09 K, with a standard deviation (SD) of 1.72 K. According to the data filtration used in this paper, the mean specific humidity bias of 925–200 hPa is −0.012 g kg−1, with a SD of 0.666 g kg−1, and the mean relative error of water vapor pressure is about 33.3%, with a SD of 107.5%. The COSMIC quality control process failed to detect some of the abnormal extremely small humidity data which occurred frequently in subtropical zone. Despite the large relative error of water vapor pressure, the relative error of refractivity is small. This paper also provides a comparison of eight radiosonde types with COSMIC product. Because the retrieval product is affected by the background error which differed between different regions, the COSMIC retrieval product could be used as a benchmark if the precision requirement is not strict.