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Infrared Remote Sensing of Organic Compounds in the Upper Troposphere

John Remedios(1), Grant Allen(2) and Alison Waterfall(3)

(1) University of Leicester, EOS, Space Research Centre, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom
(2) University of Manchester, PO Box 88 , Manchester M60 1QD, United Kingdom
(3) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Bldg R25, Oxfordshire OX11 0QX, United Kingdom


Organic compounds are of central importance for studies of tropospheric chemistry. They are a key component in control of tropospheric ozone, act as tracers of dynamics, and provide indicators of large scale pollution influences, e.g. biomass burning. However, current measurement systems are mostly restricted to specific, in situ , field campaigns, and only recently have the first global datasets become available for this type of compounds. The measurement of formaldehyde columns by the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) has been an important step forward.

In recent years, it has been realised that there is the potential for measurement of key organic species in the upper troposphere using infrared remote sensing instruments, such as the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding (MIPAS) on ENVISAT. Here we will discuss the detectability of a number of organic species in the upper troposphere, in particular ethane, acetone, formic acid and PAN, with reference to a high resolution limb sounding infrared spectrometer such as the MIPAS instrument. In particular we will show evidence for the signatures of all four molecules in MIPAS-ENVISAT spectral data for the atmosphere and indicate likely concentrations in the light of current spectroscopic knowledge.


Workshop presentation

Full paper

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry