Articles | Volume 7, issue 6
Research article
17 Jun 2014
Research article |  | 17 Jun 2014

A high-resolution oxygen A-band spectrometer (HABS) and its radiation closure

Q. Min, B. Yin, S. Li, J. Berndt, L. Harrison, E. Joseph, M. Duan, and P. Kiedron

Abstract. Various studies indicate that high-resolution oxygen A-band spectrum has the capability to retrieve the vertical profiles of aerosol and cloud properties. To improve the understanding of oxygen A-band inversions and utility, we developed a high-resolution oxygen A-band spectrometer (HABS), and deployed it at Howard University Beltsville site during the NASA Discover Air-Quality Field Campaign in July, 2011. By using a single telescope, the HABS instrument measures the direct solar and the zenith diffuse radiation subsequently. HABS exhibits excellent performance: stable spectral response ratio, high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), high-spectrum resolution (0.016 nm), and high out-of-band rejection (10−5). For the spectral retrievals of HABS measurements, a simulator is developed by combining a discrete ordinates radiative transfer code (DISORT) with the High Resolution Transmission (HITRAN) database HITRAN2008. The simulator uses a double-k approach to reduce the computational cost. The HABS-measured spectra are consistent with the related simulated spectra. For direct-beam spectra, the discrepancies between measurements and simulations, indicated by confidence intervals (95%) of relative difference, are (−0.06, 0.05) and (−0.08, 0.09) for solar zenith angles of 27 and 72°, respectively. For zenith diffuse spectra, the related discrepancies between measurements and simulations are (−0.06, 0.05) and (−0.08, 0.07) for solar zenith angles of 27 and 72°, respectively. The main discrepancies between measurements and simulations occur at or near the strong oxygen absorption line centers. They are mainly due to two kinds of causes: (1) measurement errors associated with the noise/spikes of HABS-measured spectra, as a result of combined effects of weak signal, low SNR, and errors in wavelength registration; (2) modeling errors in the simulation, including the error of model parameters setting (e.g., oxygen absorption line parameters, vertical profiles of temperature and pressure) and the lack of treatment of the rotational Raman scattering. The high-resolution oxygen A-band measurements from HABS can constrain the active radar retrievals for more accurate cloud optical properties (e.g., cloud optical depth, effective radius), particularly for multi-layer clouds and for mixed-phase clouds.