Articles | Volume 8, issue 7
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2813–2825, 2015

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

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 2813–2825, 2015

Research article 16 Jul 2015

Research article | 16 Jul 2015

Profiling wind and greenhouse gases by infrared-laser occultation: results from end-to-end simulations in windy air

A. Plach, V. Proschek, and G. Kirchengast A. Plach et al.
  • Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change (WEGC) and Institute for Geophysics, Astrophysics and Meteorology/Institute of Physics (IGAM/IP), University of Graz, Graz, Austria

Abstract. The new mission concept of microwave and infrared-laser occultation between low-Earth-orbit satellites (LMIO) is designed to provide accurate and long-term stable profiles of atmospheric thermodynamic variables, greenhouse gases (GHGs), and line-of-sight (l.o.s.) wind speed with focus on the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS). While the unique quality of GHG retrievals enabled by LMIO over the UTLS has been recently demonstrated based on end-to-end simulations, the promise of l.o.s. wind retrieval, and of joint GHG and wind retrieval, has not yet been analyzed in any realistic simulation setting. Here we use a newly developed l.o.s. wind retrieval algorithm, which we embedded in an end-to-end simulation framework that also includes the retrieval of thermodynamic variables and GHGs, and analyze the performance of both stand-alone wind retrieval and joint wind and GHG retrieval. The wind algorithm utilizes LMIO laser signals placed on the inflection points at the wings of the highly symmetric C18OO absorption line near 4767 cm−1 and exploits transmission differences from a wind-induced Doppler shift. Based on realistic example cases for a diversity of atmospheric conditions, ranging from tropical to high-latitude winter, we find that the retrieved l.o.s. wind profiles are of high quality over the lower stratosphere under all conditions, i.e., unbiased and accurate to within about 2 m s−1 over about 15 to 35 km. The wind accuracy degrades into the upper troposphere due to the decreasing signal-to-noise ratio of the wind-induced differential transmission signals. The GHG retrieval in windy air is not vulnerable to wind speed uncertainties up to about 10 m s−1 but is found to benefit in the case of higher speeds from the integrated wind retrieval that enables correction of wind-induced Doppler shift of GHG signals. Overall both the l.o.s. wind and GHG retrieval results are strongly encouraging towards further development and implementation of a LMIO mission.

Short summary
This paper discusses simulation results of a newly developed line-of-sight wind retrieval algorithm expanding an existing simulation framework that includes the retrieval of thermodynamic variables and greenhouse gases in the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere region. The underlying mission concept further develops the radio occultation technique (i.e. satellite remote sensing technique scanning the atmosphere with high vertical resolution) employing microwave and infrared-laser signals.