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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-352
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-352
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Sep 2020

24 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Ground-based Temperature and Humidity Profiling: Combining Active and Passive Remote Sensors

David D. Turner1 and Ulrich Löhnert2 David D. Turner and Ulrich Löhnert
  • 1NOAA/OAR/Global Systems Laboratory
  • 2University of Cologne/Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology

Abstract. Thermodynamic profiles in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) are important observations for a range of atmospheric research and operational needs. These profiles can be retrieved from passively sensed spectral infrared (IR) or microwave (MW) radiance observations, or can be more directly measured by active remote sensors such as water vapor differential absorption lidars (DIALs). This paper explores the synergy of combining ground-based IR, MW, and DIAL observations using an optimal estimation retrieval framework, quantifying the reduction in the uncertainty in the retrieved profiles and the increase in information content as additional observations are added to IR-only and MW-only retrievals.

This study uses ground-based observations collected during the Perdigao field campaign in central Portugal in 2017 and during the DIAL demonstration campaign at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains site in 2017. The results show that the information content in both temperature and water vapor is higher for IR instrument relative to the MW instrument (thereby resulting in smaller uncertainties), and that the combined IR+MW retrieval is very similar to the IR-only retrieval below 1.5 km. However, including the partial profile of water vapor observed by the DIAL increases the information content in the combined IR+DIAL and MW+DIAL water vapor retrievals substantially, with the exact impact vertically depending on the characteristics of the DIAL instrument itself. Furthermore, there is slight increase in the information content in the retrieved temperature profile using the IR+DIAL relative to the IR-only; this was not observed in the MW+DIAL retrieval.

David D. Turner and Ulrich Löhnert

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David D. Turner and Ulrich Löhnert

David D. Turner and Ulrich Löhnert

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Latest update: 28 Oct 2020
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Short summary
Temperature and humidity profiles in the lowest couple kilometers near the surface are very important for many applications. Passive spectral radiometers are commercially available, and observations from these instruments have been used to get these profiles. However, new active lidar systems are able to measure partial profiles of water vapor. This paper investigates how the derived profiles of water vapor and temperature are improved with the active and passive observations are combined.
Temperature and humidity profiles in the lowest couple kilometers near the surface are very...
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