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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Oct 2018

Research article | 08 Oct 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Comparison of ground-based and satellite measurements of water vapour vertical profiles over Ellesmere Island, Nunavut

Dan Weaver1, Kimberly Strong1, Kaley A. Walker1, Chris Sioris2, Matthias Schneider3, C. Thomas McElroy4, Holger Vömel5, Michael Sommer6, Katja Weigel7, Alexei Rozanov7, John P. Burrows7, William G. Read8, Evan Fishbein8, and Gabriele Stiller3 Dan Weaver et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-ASF), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 4Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, Toronto, Canada
  • 5Earth Observing Laboratory, NCAR, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 6GRUAN Lead Centre, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Lindenberg, Germany
  • 7Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 8Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA

Abstract. Improving measurements of water vapour in the lower stratosphere and upper troposphere (UTLS) is a priority for the atmospheric science community. In this work, UTLS water vapour profiles derived from Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) satellite measurements are assessed with coincident ground-based measurements taken at a high Arctic observatory at Eureka, Nunavut, Canada. Additional comparisons to satellite measurements taken by AIRS, MIPAS, MLS, SCIAMACHY, and TES are included to put the ACE-FTS and ACE-MAESTRO results in context.

Measurements of water vapour profiles at Eureka are made using a Bruker 125HR solar absorption Fourier transform infrared spectrometer at the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) and radiosondes launched from the Eureka Weather Station. Radiosonde measurements used in this study have been processed with software developed by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper Air Network (GRUAN) to account for known biases and calculate uncertainties in a well-documented and consistent manner.

ACE-FTS measurements were within 11 ppmv (13 %) of 125HR measurements between 6 and 14 km. Between 8 and 14 km ACE-FTS profiles showed a small wet bias of approximately 8 % relative to the 125HR. ACE-FTS water vapour profiles had mean differences of 13 ppmv (32 %) or better when compared to coincident radiosonde profiles at altitudes between 6 and 14 km; mean differences were within 6 ppmv (12 %) between 7 and 11 km. ACE-MAESTRO profiles showed a small dry bias relative to the 125HR of approximately 7 % between 6 and 9 km and 10 % between 10 and 14 km. ACE-MAESTRO profiles agreed within 30 ppmv (36 %) of the radiosondes between 7 and 14 km. ACE-FTS and ACE-MAESTRO comparison results show closer agreement with the radiosondes and PEARL 125HR overall than other satellite datasets – except AIRS. Close agreement was observed between AIRS and the 125HR and radiosonde measurements, with mean differences within 5 % and correlation coefficients above 0.83 in the troposphere between 1 and 7 km.

Comparisons to MLS at altitudes around 10 km showed a dry bias, e.g., mean differences between MLS and radiosondes were −25.6 %. SCIAMACHY comparisons were very limited due to minimal overlap between the vertical extent of the measurements. TES had no temporal overlap with the radiosonde dataset used in this study. Comparisons between TES and the 125HR showed a wet bias of approximately 25 % in the UTLS and mean differences within 14 % below 5 km.

Dan Weaver et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Dan Weaver et al.
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Short summary
This work assesses water vapour profiles acquired by Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE) satellite instruments in the upper-troposphere lower-stratosphere (UTLS) region using comparisons to radiosondes and ground-based Fourier transform infrared spectrometer measurements acquired at a Canadian high Arctic measurement site, Eureka, Nunavut. Additional comparisons are made between these Eureka measurements and other water vapour satellite datasets for context, including AIRS, MLS, and others.
This work assesses water vapour profiles acquired by Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE)...