Uncertainty of atmospheric microwave absorption model: impact on ground-based radiometer simulations and retrievals

Cimini, Domenico; Rosenkranz, Philip W.; Tretyakov, Mikhail Y.; Koshelev, Maksim A.; Romano, Filomena

This paper presents a general approach to quantify absorption model uncertainty due to uncertainty in the underlying spectroscopic parameters. The approach is applied to a widely used microwave absorption model (Rosenkranz, 2017) and radiative transfer calculations in the 20–60 GHz range, which are commonly exploited for atmospheric sounding by microwave radiometer (MWR). The approach, however, is not limited to any frequency range, observing geometry, or particular instrument. In the considered frequency range, relevant uncertainties come from water vapor and oxygen spectroscopic parameters. The uncertainty of the following parameters is found to dominate: (for water vapor) self- and foreign-continuum absorption coefficients, line broadening by dry air, line intensity, the temperature-dependence exponent for foreign-continuum absorption, and the line shift-to-broadening ratio; (for oxygen) line intensity, line broadening by dry air, line mixing, the temperature-dependence exponent for broadening, zero-frequency line broadening in air, and the temperature-dependence coefficient for line mixing. The full uncertainty covariance matrix is then computed for the set of spectroscopic parameters with significant impact. The impact of the spectroscopic parameter uncertainty covariance matrix on simulated downwelling microwave brightness temperatures (inline-formulaTB) in the 20–60 GHz range is calculated for six atmospheric climatology conditions. The uncertainty contribution to simulated inline-formulaTB ranges from 0.30 K (subarctic winter) to 0.92 K (tropical) at 22.2 GHz and from 2.73 K (tropical) to 3.31 K (subarctic winter) at 52.28 GHz. The uncertainty contribution is nearly zero at 55–60 GHz frequencies. Finally, the impact of spectroscopic parameter uncertainty on ground-based MWR retrievals of temperature and humidity profiles is discussed.

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Cimini, Domenico / Rosenkranz, Philip W. / Tretyakov, Mikhail Y. / et al: Uncertainty of atmospheric microwave absorption model: impact on ground-based radiometer simulations and retrievals. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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