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Linear Trends and Closures of 10-yr Observations of AIRS Stratospheric Channels

Pan, F., X. Huang, L. Strow, and H. Guo (2015), Linear Trends and Closures of 10-yr Observations of AIRS Stratospheric Channels, J. Climate, 28, 8939-8950, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0418.1.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) level-1b radiances have been shown to be well calibrated (;0.3 K or higher) and have little secular drift (;4 mK yr21) since operation started in September 2002. This paper investigates the linear trends of 10 years (2003–12) of AIRS global-mean radiances in the CO2 v2 band that are sensitive to emissions from the stratosphere (stratospheric channels). AIRS lower-stratospheric channels have a cooling trend of no more than 0.23 K decade21 whereas the midstratospheric channels consistently show a statistically significant cooling trend as large as 0.58 K decade21. The 95% confidence interval for the trend is ;60.20 K decade21. Two sets of synthetic AIRS radiances are computed using the principal component–based radiative transfer model (PCRTM), one based on a free-running GFDL Atmospheric Model, version 3 (AM3), over the same period and one based on ERA-Interim. The GFDL AM3 simulations overestimate the cooling trends in the mid- to upper-stratospheric channels but slightly underestimate them in the lower-stratospheric channels. The synthetic radiances based on ERA-Interim, however, have statistically significant positive trends at virtually all stratospheric channels. This confirms the challenge to the GCM modeling and reanalysis community to create a better simulation or assimilation of the stratospheric climate. It is shown that the linear trends in AIRS radiances can be reproduced to a large extent by the spectral radiative kernel technique and the trends from the AIRS L2 temperature retrievals and from the change of CO2. This suggests a closure between AIRS L1 radiances and L2 retrievals and the potential merit of AIRS data in studies of stratosphere changes.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)