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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
18 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Upper tropospheric CH4 and N2O retrievals from MetOp/IASI within the project MUSICA
Omaira E. García1, Eliezer Sepúlveda2,1, Matthias Schneider3, Andreas Wiegele3, Christian Borger3, Frank Hase3, Sabine Barthlott3, Thomas Blumenstock3, and Ángel M. de Frutos2 1Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre (IARC), Agencia Estatal de Meteorología (AEMET), Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
2Atmospheric Optics Group (GOA), University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
3Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-ASF), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany
Abstract. This paper presents upper tropospheric methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) concentrations retrieved from thermal infrared spectra as observed by the remote sensor IASI (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer) on-board the EUMETSAT/MetOp meteorological satellites. The CH4 and N2O mixing ratios are retrieved as side products of the MetOp/IASI retrieval developed for the European Research Council project MUSICA (MUlti-platform remote Sensing of Isotopologues for investigating the Cycle of Atmospheric water). The MUSICA/IASI CH4 and N2O retrieval strategy is described in detail as well as their characterisation in terms of the vertical resolution and expected errors. Theoretically, we document that MUSICA/IASI products can capture the upper tropospheric CH4 and N2O variability (at ≈ 300–350 hPa) with a precision better than 2 %. We compare the remote sensing data to coincident high precision aircraft vertical profiles taken within the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) project and empirically estimate a precision of 2.1 % (38.2 ppbv) for each individual IASI CH4 observation. The precision is improved to 1.7 % (32.1 ppbv) for IASI data that have been averaged within 2° × 2° boxes. For N2O the empirically estimated precision is 2.7 % (8.7 ppbv) for each individual observation and 2.1 % (6.9 ppbv) for the 2° × 2° averages. The empirical study works with data from the missions HIPPO1 and HIPPO5, which cover latitudes between 67º S and 80º N during typical winter and summer conditions in both hemispheres, thus being reasonably representative for global observation during different seasons.

In addition, we present a product that combines the CH4 and N2O retrieval estimates. The combination is made a-posteriori and we theoretically and empirically show that the combined product has a much better precision than the individual CH4 and N2O products. For the combined product the theoretical precision is 0.8 % and the comparison with HIPPO data gives an empirical precision estimate of 1.5 % (26.3 ppbv) when considering all individual IASI observations and of 1.2 % (21.8 ppbv) for the 2° ×2° averages. In the case that the horizontal, vertical and temporal variation of N2O can be robustly modeled, we can easily reconstruct CH4 from the combined product and generate high quality IASI CH4 data.

Citation: García, O. E., Sepúlveda, E., Schneider, M., Wiegele, A., Borger, C., Hase, F., Barthlott, S., Blumenstock, T., and de Frutos, Á. M.: Upper tropospheric CH4 and N2O retrievals from MetOp/IASI within the project MUSICA, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2016-326, in review, 2017.
Omaira E. García et al.
Omaira E. García et al.
Omaira E. García et al.


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Short summary
This work presents an observational data set of upper tropospheric CH4 and N2O products retrieved from the thermal emission spectra measured by the satellite sensor IASI (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer), aboard the EUMETSAT satellites MetOp. The quality of the products is documented by an theoretical error estimation and by an extensive comparison study to HIPPO aircraft in-situ data.
This work presents an observational data set of upper tropospheric CH4 and N2O products...