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Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) satellite observations of tropospheric...

Shephard, M. W., and K. Cady-Pereira (2015), Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) satellite observations of tropospheric ammonia, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 1323-1336, doi:10.5194/amt-8-1323-2015.

Observations of atmospheric ammonia are important in understanding and modelling the impact of ammonia on both human health and the natural environment. We present a detailed description of a robust retrieval algorithm that demonstrates the capabilities of utilizing Crosstrack Infrared Sounder (CrIS) satellite observations to globally retrieval ammonia concentrations. Initial ammonia retrieval results using both simulated and real observations show that (i) CrIS is sensitive to ammonia in the boundary layer with peak vertical sensitivity typically around ∼ 850– 750 hPa (∼ 1.5 to 2.5 km), which can dip down close to the surface (∼ 900 hPa) under ideal conditions, (ii) it has a minimum detection limit of ∼ 1 ppbv (peak profile value typically at the surface), and (iii) the information content can vary significantly with maximum values of ∼ 1 degree-of-freedom for signal. Comparisons of the retrieval with simulated “true” profiles show a small positive retrieval bias of 6 % with a standard deviation of ∼ ±20 % (ranging from ±12 to ±30 % over the vertical profile). Note that these uncertainty estimates are considered as lower bound values as no potential systematic errors are included in the simulations. The CrIS NH3 retrieval applied over the Central Valley in CA, USA, demonstrates that CrIS correlates well with the spatial variability of the boundary layer ammonia concentrations seen by the nearby Quantum Cascade-Laser (QCL) in situ surface and the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) satellite observations as part of the DISCOVER-AQ campaign. The CrIS and TES ammonia observations show quantitatively similar retrieved boundary layer values that are often within the uncertainty of the two observations. Also demonstrated is CrIS’s ability to capture the expected spatial distribution in the ammonia concentrations, from elevated values in the Central Valley from anthropogenic agriculture emissions, to much lower values in the unpolluted or clean surrounding mountainous regions. These initial results demonstrate the capabilities of the CrIS satellite to measure ammonia.

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Atmospheric Composition Modeling and Analysis Program (ACMAP)