A microwave satellite water vapour column retrieval for polar winter conditions
- 1Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
- 2Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, USA
Abstract. A new microwave satellite water vapour retrieval for the polar winter atmosphere is presented. The retrieval builds on the work of Miao et al. (2001) and Melsheimer and Heygster (2008), employing auxiliary information for atmospheric conditions and numerical optimization. It was tested using simulated and actual measurements from the Microwave Humidity Sounder (MHS) satellite instruments. Ground truth was provided by the G-band vapour radiometer (GVR) at Barrow, Alaska. For water vapour columns less than 6 kg m−2, comparisons between the retrieval and GVR result in a root mean square (RMS) deviation of 0.39 kg m−2 and a systematic bias of 0.08 kg m−2. These results are compared with RMS deviations and biases at Barrow for the retrieval of Melsheimer and Heygster (2008), the AIRS and MIRS satellite data products, and the ERA-Interim, NCEP, JRA-55, and ASR reanalyses. When applied to MHS measurements, the new retrieval produces a smaller RMS deviation and bias than for the earlier retrieval and satellite data products. The RMS deviations for the new retrieval were comparable to those for the ERA-Interim, JRA-55, and ASR reanalyses; however, the MHS retrievals have much finer horizontal resolution (15 km at nadir) and reveal more structure. The new retrieval can be used to obtain pan-Arctic maps of water vapour columns of unprecedented quality. It may also be applied to measurements from the Special Sensor Microwave/Temperature 2 (SSM/T2), Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit B (AMSU-B), Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS), Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS), and Chinese MicroWave Humidity Sounder (MWHS) instruments.