21 Apr 2023
 | 21 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

The SPARC water vapour assessment II: Biases and drifts of water vapour satellite data records with respect to frost point hygrometer records

Michael Kiefer, Dale F. Hurst, Gabriele P. Stiller, Stefan Lossow, Holger Vömel, John Anderson, Faiza Azam, Jean-Loup Bertaux, Laurent Blanot, Klaus Bramstedt, John P. Burrows, Robert Damadeo, Bianca Maria Dinelli, Patrick Eriksson, Maya García-Comas, John C. Gille, Mark Hervig, Yasuko Kasai, Farahnaz Khosrawi, Donal Murtagh, Gerald E. Nedoluha, Stefan Noël, Piera Raspollini, William G. Read, Karen H. Rosenlof, Alexei Rozanov, Christopher E. Sioris, Takafumi Sugita, Thomas von Clarmann, Kaley A. Walker, and Katja Weigel

Abstract. Satellite data records of stratospheric water vapour have been compared to balloon-borne frost point hygrometer (FP) profiles that are coincident in space and time. The satellite data records of 15 different instruments cover water vapour data available from January 2000 through December 2016. The hygrometer data are from 27 stations all over the world in the same period. For the comparison, real or constructed averaging kernels have been applied to the hygrometer profiles to adjust them to the measurement characteristics of the satellite instruments. For bias evaluation, we have compared satellite profiles averaged over the available temporal coverage to the means of coincident FP profiles for individual stations. For drift determinations, we analyzed timeseries of relative differences between spatiotemporally coincident satellite and hygrometer profiles at individual stations. In a synopsis we have also calculated the mean biases and drifts (and their respective uncertainties) for each satellite record over all applicable hygrometer stations in three altitude ranges (10–30 hPa, 30–100 hPa, and 100 hPa to tropopause). Most of the satellite data have biases < 10 % and average drifts < 1 % yr−1 in at least one of the respective altitude ranges. Virtually all biases are significant in the sense that their uncertainty range in terms of twice the standard error of the mean does not include zero. Statistically significant drifts (95 % confidence) are detected for 35 % of the ~1200 timeseries of relative differences between satellites and hygrometers.

Michael Kiefer et al.

Status: open (until 27 Jun 2023)

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Michael Kiefer et al.

Michael Kiefer et al.


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Short summary
We quantify biases and drifts (and their uncertainties) between the stratospheric water vapor measurement records of 15 satellite-based instruments (SATs, with 31 different retrievals) and balloon-borne frost point hygrometers (FPs) launched at 27 globally distributed stations. These comparisons of measurements during the period 2000-2016 are made using robust, consistent statistical methods. With some exceptions, the biases and drifts determined for most SAT-FP pairs are < 10 % and < 1 % yr−1.