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The SPARC Water Vapor Assessment II: assessment of satellite measurements of...

Read, W. G., G. Stiller, S. Lossow, M. Kiefer, F. Khosrawi, D. Hurst, H. Vömel, K. Rosenlof, B. M. Dinelli, P. Raspollini, G. Nedoluha, J. Gille, Y. Kasai, P. Eriksson, C. E. Sioris, K. A. Walker, K. Weigel, J. P. Burrows, and A. Rozanov (2022), The SPARC Water Vapor Assessment II: assessment of satellite measurements of upper tropospheric humidity, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 15, 3377-3400, doi:10.5194/amt-15-3377-2022.

Nineteen limb-viewing data sets (occultation, passive thermal, and UV scattering) and two nadir upper tropospheric humidity (UTH) data sets are intercompared and also compared to frost-point hygrometer balloon sondes. The upper troposphere considered here covers the pressure range from 300–100 hPa. UTH is a challenging measurement, because concentrations vary between 2–1000 ppmv (parts per million by volume), with sharp changes in vertical gradients near the tropopause. Cloudiness in this region also makes the measurement challenging. The atmospheric temperature is also highly variable ranging from 180–250 K. The assessment of satellite-measured UTH is based on coincident comparisons with balloon frost-point hygrometer sondes, multi-month mapped comparisons, zonal mean time series comparisons, and coincident satellite-to-satellite comparisons. While the satellite fields show similar features in maps and time series, quantitatively they can differ by a factor of 2 in concentration, with strong dependencies on the amount of UTH. Additionally, time-lag response-corrected Vaisala RS92 radiosondes are compared to satellites and the frost-point hygrometer measurements. In summary, most satellite data sets reviewed here show on average ∼ 30 %

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Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)