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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Jul 2017

Research article | 26 Jul 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Retrieval of Water Vapor using Ground-based Observations from a Prototype ATOMMS Active cm- and mm- Wavelength Occultation Instrument

Dale M. Ward1, E. Robert Kursinski2, Angel C. Otarola1,3, Michael Stovern4, Josh McGee2, Abe Young5, Jared Hainsworth6, Jeff Hagen7, William Sisk8, and Heather Reed9 Dale M. Ward et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
  • 2Space Sciences and Engineering, Boulder, CO, 80301, USA
  • 3TMT International Observatory, Inc., Pasadena, CA 91105, USA
  • 4Environmental Protection Agency, Denver, CO 80202-1129, USA
  • 5Department of Physics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
  • 6Hill Air Force Base, A-10 Mechanical Systems, Ogden, UT 84056, USA
  • 7Lithe Technology, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
  • 8Department of Ast ronomy, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
  • 9LASP, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, USA

Abstract. A fundamental goal of satellite weather and climate observations is profiling the atmosphere with in situ-like precision and resolution with absolute accuracy and unbiased, all-weather, global coverage. While GPS radio occultation (RO) has come perhaps closest in terms of profiling the gas state from orbit, it does not provide sufficient information to simultaneously profile water vapor and temperature. We have been developing the Active Temperature, Ozone and Moisture Microwave Spectrometer (ATOMMS) RO system that probes the 22 and 183GHz water vapor absorption lines to simultaneously profile temperature and water vapor from the lower troposphere to the mesopause. Using an ATOMMS instrument prototype between two mountaintops, we have demonstrated its ability to penetrate through water vapor, clouds and rain up to optical depths of 17 (7 orders of magnitude reduction in signal power) and still isolate the vapor absorption line spectrum to retrieve water vapor with a precision better than 1%. This demonstration represents a key step toward an orbiting ATOMMS system for weather, climate and constraining processes.

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Dale M. Ward et al.
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Dale M. Ward et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Satellite-to-satellite occultations near 22 & 183 GHz water absorption lines promise to profile the atmosphere with unprecedented performance needed for forecasting weather & climate. We describe measurements made with a prototype instrument between mountaintops during a thunderstorm that determined water vapor to better than 1 %, even when clouds & rain attenuated the signals. The precision & dynamic range demonstrated far exceed present instruments and are similar to theoretical expectations.
Satellite-to-satellite occultations near 22 & 183 GHz water absorption lines promise to profile...