26 Jan 2024
 | 26 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Merging TEMPEST Microwave and GOES-16 Geostationary IR soundings for improved water vapor profiles

Chia-Pang Kuo and Christian Kummerow

Abstract. The Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems Demonstration (TEMPEST-D) demonstrated the capability of CubeSat satellites to provide high-quality, stable microwave signals for estimating water vapor, clouds, and precipitation from space. Unlike the operational NOAA and MetOp series satellites, which combine microwave and hyperspectral infrared sensors on the same platforms to optimize retrievals, CubeSat radiometers such as TEMPEST do not carry additional sensors. In such cases, the high temporal and spatial resolution and multi-channel measurements from the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) on the next-generation series of Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES-R) are ideal for assisting these smaller, stand-alone radiometers. Based on sensitivity tests, the water vapor retrievals from TEMPEST are improved by adding water-vapor-sounding channels at 6.2, 6.9, and 7.3 mm from ABI, which help to increase the vertical resolution of soundings and reduce retrieval errors. Under clear sky conditions, retrieval biases and root-mean-square errors improve by approximately 10 %, while under cloudy skies, biases remain unchanged but root-mean-square errors still decrease by 5 %. Humidity soundings are also validated using coastal radiosonde data from the Integrated Global Radiosonde Archive (IGRA) from 2019 to 2020. When ABI indicates clear skies, water vapor retrievals improve somewhat by decreasing the overall bias in the microwave only estimate by roughly 10 %, although layer root-mean-square errors remain roughly unchanged at 1 g/kg when three ABI channels are added. When ABI indicates cloudy conditions, there is little change in the results. The small number of matched radiosondes may limit the observed improvement.

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Chia-Pang Kuo and Christian Kummerow

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2023-228', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Feb 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Chia-Pang Kuo, 30 Mar 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2023-228', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Feb 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Chia-Pang Kuo, 30 Mar 2024
Chia-Pang Kuo and Christian Kummerow
Chia-Pang Kuo and Christian Kummerow


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Short summary
A small satellite about the size of a shoe box, named TEMPEST, carries only a microwave sensor and is designed to measure the water cycle of the Earth from space in an economical way compared with traditional satellites, which have additional infrared sensors. To overcome the limitation, extra infrared signals from GOES-R ABI are combined with TEMPEST microwave measurements. Compared with ground observations, improved humidity information is extracted from the merged TEMPEST and ABI signals.