A new gas absorption optical depth parameterisation for RTTOV version 13

Hocking, James; Vidot, Jérôme; Brunel, Pascal; Roquet, Pascale; Silveira, Bruna; Turner, Emma; Lupu, Cristina

This paper describes a new gas optical depth parameterisation implemented in the most recent release, version 13, of the radiative transfer model RTTOV (Radiative Transfer for TOVS). RTTOV is a fast, one-dimensional radiative transfer model for simulating top-of-atmosphere visible, infrared, and microwave radiances observed by downward-viewing space-borne passive sensors. A key component of the model is the fast parameterisation of absorption by the various gases in the atmosphere. The existing parameterisation in RTTOV has been extended over many years to allow for additional variable gases in RTTOV simulations and to account for solar radiation and better support geostationary sensors by extending the validity to higher zenith angles. However, there are limitations inherent in the current approach which make it difficult to develop it further, for example by adding new variable gases. We describe a new parameterisation that can be applied across the whole spectrum, that allows for a wide range of zenith angles in support of solar radiation and geostationary sensors, and for which it will be easier to add new variable gases in support of user requirements. Comparisons against line-by-line radiative transfer simulations and against observations in the ECMWF operational system yield promising results, suggesting that the new parameterisation generally compares well with the old one in terms of accuracy. Further validation is planned, including testing in operational numerical weather prediction data assimilation systems.

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Hocking, James / Vidot, Jérôme / Brunel, Pascal / et al: A new gas absorption optical depth parameterisation for RTTOV version 13. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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