Ground-based temperature and humidity profiling: combining active and passive remote sensors

Turner, David D.; Löhnert, Ulrich

Thermodynamic profiles in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) are important observations for a range of atmospheric research and operational needs. These profiles can be retrieved from passively sensed spectral infrared (IR) or microwave (MW) radiance observations or can be more directly measured by active remote sensors such as water vapor differential absorption lidars (DIALs). This paper explores the synergy of combining ground-based IR, MW, and DIAL observations using an optimal-estimation retrieval framework, quantifying the reduction in the uncertainty in the retrieved profiles and the increase in information content as additional observations are added to IR-only and MW-only retrievals.

This study uses ground-based observations collected during the Perdigão field campaign in central Portugal in 2017 and during the DIAL demonstration campaign at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Southern Great Plains site in 2017. The results show that the information content in both temperature and water vapor is higher for the IR instrument relative to the MW instrument (thereby resulting in smaller uncertainties) and that the combined IR inline-formula+ MW retrieval is very similar to the IR-only retrieval below 1.5 km. However, including the partial profile of water vapor observed by the DIAL increases the information content in the combined IR inline-formula+ DIAL and MW inline-formula+ DIAL water vapor retrievals substantially, with the exact impact vertically depending on the characteristics of the DIAL instrument itself. Furthermore, there is a slight increase in the information content in the retrieved temperature profile using the IR inline-formula+ DIAL relative to the IR-only; this was not observed in the MW inline-formula+ DIAL retrieval.

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Turner, David D. / Löhnert, Ulrich: Ground-based temperature and humidity profiling: combining active and passive remote sensors. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: David D. Turner

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