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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-381
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2018-381
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Feb 2019

Research article | 08 Feb 2019

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

Pan-Arctic measurements of wintertime water vapour column using a satellite-borne microwave radiometer

Christopher Perro1, Thomas J. Duck1, Glen Lesins1, Kimberly Strong2, Penny M. Rowe3,4, James R. Drummond1, and Robert J. Sica5 Christopher Perro et al.
  • 1Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, WA, USA
  • 4Department of Physics, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • 5Western University, London, Ontario, Canada

Abstract. A methodology for retrieving high-latitude winter water vapour columns from passive microwave satellite measurements from Perro et al. (2016) is extended to use measured surface reflectance ratios under more realistic surface reflection assumptions. Pan-Arctic wintertime water vapour is retrieved from Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) measurements made from January 2012 through March 2015 (December to March). The water vapour retrievals are validated using two ground based instruments: the G-band Vapor Radiometer (GVR) at Barrow, Alaska, and the Extended-Range Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (E-AERI) at Eureka, Nunavut. E-AERI was chosen as an additional point of validation compared to Perro et al. (2016) due to the different technology and frequencies employed to determine water vapour column compared to the ATMS and GVR. For water vapour columns less than 6 kg m−2, the biases are +2.6 % and +0.01 % relative to the GVR and E-AERI, respectively. A comparison with radiosonde humidity measurements shows they are dry relative to the ATMS measurements in North America and Western Europe, and moist in Asia and Eastern Europe, with an apparent dependence on radiosonde manufacturer. Reanalyses (ERA-5, ERA-Interim, ASR V2, JRA-55 and NCEP) are systematically drier than the ATMS measurements for water vapour columns less than 6 kg m−2, with relative biases ranging from −10 % to −23 %. These differences could have implications for the understanding of the Arctic water budget and climate.

Christopher Perro et al.
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Short summary
A satellite retrieval for water vapour column was adapted for use over different surfaces in the wintertime Arctic. The retrieval was validated at multiple locations where there was excellent agreement. Reanalyses were found to be 10–15 % drier compared to our water vapour retrieval. Reanalyses represent the present day understanding of the atmosphere so this discrepancy between reanalyses and our retrieval could have implications for the current understanding of the climate.
A satellite retrieval for water vapour column was adapted for use over different surfaces in the...
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