Space-borne observation of methane from atmospheric infrared sounder version 6: validation and implications for data analysis
X. Xiong1,2, F. Weng2, Q. Liu2, and E. Olsen31Earth Resources Technology Inc., Laurel, MD 20707, USA 2NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research, College Park, MD 20740, USA 3NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, USA
Received: 12 Jun 2015 – Accepted for review: 22 Jul 2015 – Discussion started: 10 Aug 2015
Abstract. Atmospheric Methane (CH4) is generated as a standard product in recent version of the hyperspectral Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS-V6) aboard NASA's Aqua satellite at the NASA Goddard Earth Sciences Data and Information Services Center (NASA/GES/DISC). Significant improvements in AIRS-V6 was expected but without a thorough validation. This paper first introduced the improvements of CH4 retrieval in AIRS-V6 and some characterizations, then presented the results of validation using ~ 1000 aircraft profiles from several campaigns spread over a couple of years and in different regions. It was found the mean biases of AIRS CH4 at layers 343–441 and 441–575 hPa are −0.76 and −0.05 % and the RMS errors are 1.56 and 1.16 %, respectively. Further analysis demonstrates that the errors in the spring and in the high northern latitudes are larger than in other seasons or regions. The error is correlated with Degree of Freedoms (DOFs), particularly in the tropics or in the summer, and cloud amount, suggesting that the "observed" spatiotemporal variation of CH4 by AIRS is imbedded with some artificial impact from the retrieval sensitivity in addition to its variation in reality, so the variation of information content in the retrievals needs to be taken into account in data analysis of the retrieval products. Some additional filtering (i.e. rejection of profiles with obvious oscillation as well as those deviating greatly from the norm) for quality control is recommended for the users to better utilize AIRS-V6 CH4, and their implementation in the future versions of the AIRS retrieval algorithm is under consideration.
Xiong, X., Weng, F., Liu, Q., and Olsen, E.: Space-borne observation of methane from atmospheric infrared sounder version 6: validation and implications for data analysis, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., 8, 8563-8597, doi:10.5194/amtd-8-8563-2015, 2015.