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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 30 Sep 2019

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

Comparison of Optimal Estimation HDO/H2O Retrievals from AIRS with ORACLES measurements

Robert L. Herman1, John Worden1, David Noone2, Dean Henze2, Kevin Bowman1, Karen Cady-Pereira3, Vivienne H. Payne1, Susan Kulawik4, and Dejian Fu1 Robert L. Herman et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
  • 2College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
  • 3Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. (AER), Lexington, Massachusetts, USA
  • 4Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Petaluma, California, USA

Abstract. In this paper we evaluate new retrievals of the deuterium content of water vapor from the Aqua Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) with aircraft measurements of HDO and H2O from the ObseRvations of Aerosols above Clouds and their intEractionS (ORACLES) field mission. Single footprint AIRS radiances are processed with an optimal estimation algorithm that provides a vertical profile of the HDO/H2O ratio, characterized uncertainties, and instrument operators (or averaging kernel matrix). These retrievals are compared to vertical profiles of the HDO/H2O from the Oregon State University Water Isotope Spectrometer for Precipitation and Entrainment Research (WISPER) on the ORACLES NASA P-3B Orion aircraft. Measurements were taken over the Southeast Atlantic Ocean from 31 August to 25 September 2016. HDO/H2O is commonly reported in delta-D notation, which is the fractional deviation of the HDO/H2O ratio from the standard reference ratio. For collocated measurements, the satellite operator (averaging kernels and a priori constraint) is applied to the aircraft profile measurements. We find that AIRS delta-D bias relative to the aircraft is well within the estimated measurement uncertainty. In the lower troposphere, 1000 to 800 hPa, AIRS delta-D bias is −6.6‰ and the Root Mean Square (RMS) deviation is 20.9‰, consistent with the calculated uncertainty of 19.1‰. In the mid-troposphere, 800 to 500 hPa, AIRS delta-D bias is 6.8‰ and RMS 44.9‰, comparable to the calculated uncertainty of 25.8‰.

Robert L. Herman et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: open (extended)
Status: open (extended)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Robert L. Herman et al.
Data sets

ORACLES P3 aircraft data D. Noone and D. Henze

Robert L. Herman et al.
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Short summary
This study is the first assessment and validation of AIRS HDO/H2O retrieved by Optimal Estimation. Initial comparisons with in-situ measurements from NASA ORACLES are promising: the small bias and consistent RMS of AIRS suggest that AIRS has well-characterized HDO/H2O. This analysis opens the possibility of a new 17-year long-term data record of global tropospheric HDO/H2O measured from space.
This study is the first assessment and validation of AIRS HDO/H2O retrieved by Optimal...