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Comparison of theoretical and empirical algorithms for the estimation of atmospheric water vapour using AATSR data

Ian Barton(1)

(1) CSIRO, PO Box 1538, 7001 Hobart, Australia


Simulated satellite measurements using a state-of-the-art atmospheric infrared transmission model are used to derive theoretical algorithms to derive total water vapour amounts (TWV) in the atmosphere using infrared measurements from the Along Track Scanning Radiometer flying on ESA’s Envisat satellite. An earlier analysis published in 2004 (J. Geophys. Res., 109) developed similar empirical algorithms using coincident AATSR infrared data and water vapour estimates derived from the microwave radiometer (MWR) that is also included in the Envisat payload. These earlier algorithms required a final empirical adjustment to give an improved agreement between the AATSR and MWR TWV estimates. The theoretical algorithms appear to give an improved estimate of TWV that does not require a final empirical adjustment. This suggests that the TWV estimates from the MWR may have a slight non-linear discrepancy that is dependent on the TWV content of the atmosphere. The different performance of these two sets of algorithms is explored including the possible development of a correction to give improved estimates of TWV from Envisat’s MWR.


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