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

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© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Intercomparison of atmospheric water vapour measurements in the Canadian high Arctic
Dan Weaver1, Kimberly Strong1, Matthias Schneider2, Penny M. Rowe3,4, Chris Sioris5, Kaley A. Walker1,6, Zen Mariani7, Taneil Uttal8, C. Thomas McElroy5, Holger Vömel9, Alessio Spassiani10, and James R. Drummond11 1Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-ASF), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
3NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, Washington, USA
4Department of Physics, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Santiago, Chile
5Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, Canada
6Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
7Cloud Physics and Severe Weather Research Section, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
8Earth Systems Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, USA
9Earth Observing Laboratory, NCAR, Boulder, Colorado, USA
10School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
11Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Abstract. Water vapour is a critical component of the Earth system. Techniques to acquire and improve measurements of atmospheric water vapour and its isotopes are under active development. This work presents a detailed intercomparison of water vapour total column measurements taken between 2006 and 2014 at a Canadian high Arctic research site. Instruments include radiosondes, sun photometers, a microwave radiometer, and emission and solar absorption Fourier transform spectrometers (FTSs). Good agreement is observed between all combination of datasets, with correlation coefficients ≥ 0.90 showing high correlations. A variety of biases and calibration issues are revealed and discussed for all instruments.

A new FTS dataset, resulting from the MUSICA (Multi-platform remote Sensing of Isotopologues for investigating the Cycle of Atmospheric water) retrieval technique, is shown to offer accurate measurements of water vapour total columns; however, measurements show a small wet bias of approximately 6 %. A new dataset derived from Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) measurements is also shown to provide accurate water vapour measurements, which usefully enables measurements to be taken during day and night (especially valuable during Polar Night).

In addition, limited profile comparisons are conducted using radiosonde and ground-based FTS measurements. Results show MUSICA FTS profiles were within 15 % of radiosonde measurements throughout the troposphere.

Citation: Weaver, D., Strong, K., Schneider, M., Rowe, P. M., Sioris, C., Walker, K. A., Mariani, Z., Uttal, T., McElroy, C. T., Vömel, H., Spassiani, A., and Drummond, J. R.: Intercomparison of atmospheric water vapour measurements in the Canadian high Arctic, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., doi:10.5194/amt-2016-330, in review, 2016.
Dan Weaver et al.
Dan Weaver et al.
Dan Weaver et al.


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Short summary
I've compared techniques used by several PEARL instruments to measure atmospheric water vapour. No single instrument can comprehensively map the atmosphere. I documented how well these techniques are performing, and quantified the agreement and biases between them. There is a lot of interest in understanding water vapour because of its substantial influence on weather, climate, and radiative balance. My work showed that a new datasets capture accurate measurements of high Arctic water vapour.
I've compared techniques used by several PEARL instruments to measure atmospheric water vapour....