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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-2020-97
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-97
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  02 Jun 2020

02 Jun 2020

Review status
A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal AMT and is expected to appear here in due course.

Assessment of global total column water vapor sounding using a spaceborne differential absorption radar

Luis Millán, Richard Roy, and Matthew Lebsock Luis Millán et al.
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA

Abstract. The feasibility of using a differential absorption radar (DAR) to retrieve total column water vapor from space is investigated. DAR combines at least two radar tones near an absorption line, in this case a water vapor line, to measure humidity information from the differential absorption on and off the line. From a spaceborne platform, DAR can be used to retrieve total column water vapor by measuring the differential reflection from the Earth's Surface. We assess the expected precision, yield, and potential biases of retrieved total column water vapor values by applying an end-to-end radar instrument simulator to near-global weather analysis fields collocated with CloudSat measurements. The approach allows us to characterize the DAR performance across a globally representative dataset of atmospheric conditions including clouds and precipitation as well as different surface types.

We assume a hypothetical spaceborne G-band radar with pulse compression orbiting the earth at 405 km with a 1 m antenna, equivalent to a footprint diameter of 850 m, and 500 m horizontal integration. The simulations include the scattering effects of rain, snow, as well as liquid and ice clouds, spectroscopic uncertainties, and uncertainties due to the initial assumed water vapor profile. Results indicate that, using two radar tones at 167 and 174.8 GHz with a transmit power of 20 W ensures that both pulses will reach the surface at least 70 % of the time in the tropics and more than 90 % of the time outside the tropics, and that total column water vapor can be retrieved with a precision better than 1.3 mm.

Luis Millán et al.

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Luis Millán et al.

Luis Millán et al.

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Latest update: 21 Sep 2020
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Short summary
This paper describes the feasibility of using a differential absorption radar technique for the remote sensing of total column water vapor from a spaceborne platform.
This paper describes the feasibility of using a differential absorption radar technique for the...
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