15 Feb 2023
 | 15 Feb 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Stratospheric trace gas profile retrievals from balloon-borne limb imaging of mid-infrared emission spectra

Ethan Runge, Jeff Langille, Daniel Zawada, Adam Bourassa, and Doug Degenstein

Abstract. The Limb Imaging Fourier-Transform Spectrometer Experiment (LIFE) instrument is a balloon-borne prototype of a satellite instrument designed to take vertical images of atmospheric limb emission spectra in the 700 to 1400 cm−1 wavenumber range from the upper troposphere/lower stratosphere (UTLS) altitude region of the atmosphere. The prototype builds on the success of past and existing instruments while reducing the complexity of the imaging design. This paper details the results of a demonstration flight on a stabilized stratospheric balloon gondola from Timmins, Canada in August 2019. Retrievals of vertical trace gas profiles for the important greenhouse gases H2O, O3, CH4 and N2O, as well as HNO3, are performed using an Optimal Estimation Approach and the SASKTRAN radiative transfer model. The retrieved profiles are compared to approximately coincident observations made by the ACE-FTS solar occultation satellite instrument. An evaluation of the LIFE measurements is performed and areas of improvement are identified. This work increases the overall technical readiness of the approach for future balloon, aircraft and space applications.

Ethan Runge et al.

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-2023-9', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Mar 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2023-9', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Mar 2023

Ethan Runge et al.

Ethan Runge et al.


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Short summary
The Limb Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer Experiment (LIFE) prototype instrument takes vertical images of the limb radiance across a wide spectral band in the mid-infrared from stratospheric balloon. These measurements are used to infer vertical trace gas profile retrievals of H2O, O3, HNO3, CH4 and N2O from the balloon float altitude. Near time/space coincident observations from the ACE-FTS satellite instrument are used as a comparison for verification of the LIFE results.