Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Research article
30 Jan 2015
Research article |  | 30 Jan 2015

Empirical validation and proof of added value of MUSICA's tropospheric δD remote sensing products

M. Schneider, Y. González, C. Dyroff, E. Christner, A. Wiegele, S. Barthlott, O. E. García, E. Sepúlveda, F. Hase, J. Andrey, T. Blumenstock, C. Guirado, R. Ramos, and S. Rodríguez

Abstract. The project MUSICA (MUlti-platform remote Sensing of Isotopologues for investigating the Cycle of Atmospheric water) integrates tropospheric water vapour isotopologue remote sensing and in situ observations. This paper presents a first empirical validation of MUSICA's H2O and δD remote sensing products, generated from ground-based FTIR (Fourier transform infrared), spectrometer and space-based IASI (infrared atmospheric sounding interferometer) observation. The study is made in the area of the Canary Islands in the subtropical northern Atlantic. As reference we use well calibrated in situ measurements made aboard an aircraft (between 200 and 6800 m a.s.l.) by the dedicated ISOWAT instrument and on the island of Tenerife at two different altitudes (at Izaña, 2370 m a.s.l., and at Teide, 3550 m a.s.l.) by two commercial Picarro L2120-i water isotopologue analysers.

The comparison to the ISOWAT profile measurements shows that the remote sensors can well capture the variations in the water vapour isotopologues, and the scatter with respect to the in situ references suggests a δD random uncertainty for the FTIR product of much better than 45‰ in the lower troposphere and of about 15‰ for the middle troposphere. For the middle tropospheric IASI δD product the study suggests a respective uncertainty of about 15‰. In both remote sensing data sets we find a positive δD bias of 30–70‰.

Complementing H2O observations with δD data allows moisture transport studies that are not possible with H2O observations alone. We are able to qualitatively demonstrate the added value of the MUSICA δD remote sensing data. We document that the δD–H2O curves obtained from the different in situ and remote sensing data sets (ISOWAT, Picarro at Izaña and Teide, FTIR, and IASI) consistently identify two different moisture transport pathways to the subtropical north eastern Atlantic free troposphere.