Articles | Volume 7, issue 7
Research article
22 Jul 2014
Research article |  | 22 Jul 2014

Retrieval of carbon dioxide vertical profiles from solar occultation observations and associated error budgets for ACE-FTS and CASS-FTS

C. E. Sioris, C. D. Boone, R. Nassar, K. J. Sutton, I. E. Gordon, K. A. Walker, and P. F. Bernath

Abstract. An algorithm is developed to retrieve the vertical profile of carbon dioxide in the 5 to 25 km altitude range using mid-infrared solar occultation spectra from the main instrument of the ACE (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment) mission, namely the Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS). The main challenge is to find an atmospheric phenomenon which can be used for accurate tangent height determination in the lower atmosphere, where the tangent heights (THs) calculated from geometric and timing information are not of sufficient accuracy. Error budgets for the retrieval of CO2 from ACE-FTS and the FTS on a potential follow-on mission named CASS (Chemical and Aerosol Sounding Satellite) are calculated and contrasted. Retrieved THs have typical biases of 60 m relative to those retrieved using the ACE version 3.x software after revisiting the temperature dependence of the N2 CIA (collision-induced absorption) laboratory measurements and accounting for sulfate aerosol extinction. After correcting for the known residual high bias of ACE version 3.x THs expected from CO2 spectroscopic/isotopic inconsistencies, the remaining bias for tangent heights determined with the N2 CIA is −20 m. CO2 in the 5–13 km range in the 2009–2011 time frame is validated against aircraft measurements from CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container), CONTRAIL (Comprehensive Observation Network for Trace gases by Airline), and HIPPO (HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations), yielding typical biases of −1.7 ppm in the 5–13 km range. The standard error of these biases in this vertical range is 0.4 ppm. The multi-year ACE-FTS data set is valuable in determining the seasonal variation of the latitudinal gradient which arises from the strong seasonal cycle in the Northern Hemisphere troposphere. The annual growth of CO2 in this time frame is determined to be 2.6 ± 0.4 ppm year−1, in agreement with the currently accepted global growth rate based on ground-based measurements.