Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 109–124, 2015

Special issue: Observing Atmosphere and Climate with Occultation Techniques...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 109–124, 2015

Research article 09 Jan 2015

Research article | 09 Jan 2015

Generation of a bending angle radio occultation climatology (BAROCLIM) and its use in radio occultation retrievals

B. Scherllin-Pirscher1, S. Syndergaard2, U. Foelsche1, and K. B. Lauritsen2 B. Scherllin-Pirscher et al.
  • 1Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change (WEGC) and Institute for Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Meteorology/Institute of Physics (IGAM/IP), University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  • 2Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. In this paper, we introduce a bending angle radio occultation climatology (BAROCLIM) based on Formosat-3/COSMIC (F3C) data. This climatology represents the monthly-mean atmospheric state from 2006 to 2012. Bending angles from radio occultation (RO) measurements are obtained from the accumulation of the change in the raypath direction of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. Best quality of these near-vertical profiles is found from the middle troposphere up to the mesosphere. Beside RO bending angles we also use data from the Mass Spectrometer and Incoherent Scatter Radar (MSIS) model (modified for RO purposes) to expand BAROCLIM in a spectral model, which (theoretically) reaches from the surface up to infinity. Due to the very high quality of BAROCLIM up to the mesosphere, it can be used to detect deficiencies in current state-of-the-art analysis and reanalysis products from numerical weather prediction (NWP) centers. For bending angles derived from European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) analysis fields from 2006 to 2012, e.g., we find a positive bias of 0.5 to 1% at 40 km, which increases to more than 2% at 50 km. BAROCLIM can also be used as a priori information in RO profile retrievals. In contrast to other a priori information (i.e., MSIS) we find that the use of BAROCLIM better preserves the mean of raw RO measurements. Global statistics of statistically optimized bending angle and refractivity profiles also confirm that BAROCLIM outperforms MSIS. These results clearly demonstrate the utility of BAROCLIM.