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

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© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Jul 2010
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT). The revised manuscript was not accepted.
Characterization of merged AIRS and MLS water vapor sensitivity through integration of averaging kernels and retrievals
C. K. Liang1,2, A. Eldering2, F. W. Irion2, W. G. Read2, E. J. Fetzer2, B. H. Kahn2, and K.-N. Liou1 1Joint Institute for Regional Earth System Science and Engineering, Los Angeles, California, USA
2Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
Abstract. In this paper, we analyze averaging kernels to assess the sensitivity of the Aqua Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) to water vapor. The averaging kernels, in the tropical and extra-tropical upper tropospheric and lower stratospheric region of the atmosphere, indicate that AIRS is primarily sensitive to water vapor concentrations typical of tropospheric values up to a level around 260 hPa. At lower pressures AIRS retrievals lose sensitivity to water vapor, though not completely as indicated by the non-zero verticalities at pressures less than 260 hPa. The MLS is able to provide high quality retrievals, with verticalities ~1 for all pressure levels, down to the same level for where AIRS begins to lose sensitivity. Previous analyses have estimated both instruments to have overlapping sensitivity to water vapor over a half temperature scale height layer, within the upper troposphere, for concentrations between ~30–400 ppmv. Thus, we implement a method using the averaging kernel information to join the AIRS and MLS profiles into an merged set of water vapor profiles. The final combined profiles are not only smooth functions with height but preserve the atmospheric state as interpreted by both the AIRS and MLS instruments.

Citation: Liang, C. K., Eldering, A., Irion, F. W., Read, W. G., Fetzer, E. J., Kahn, B. H., and Liou, K.-N.: Characterization of merged AIRS and MLS water vapor sensitivity through integration of averaging kernels and retrievals, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, 2010.
C. K. Liang et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
RC C1296: 'Reviewer Comments', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Aug 2010 Printer-friendly Version 
AC C1316: 'Response to Anonymous Referee #1', Calvin Liang, 27 Aug 2010 Printer-friendly Version 
RC C1406: 'Referee comments on Liang et al', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 Sep 2010 Printer-friendly Version 
AC C1658: 'Response to Anonymous Referee #2', Calvin Liang, 08 Oct 2010 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
C. K. Liang et al.
C. K. Liang et al.


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