26 Aug 2022
26 Aug 2022

Evaluation of tropospheric water vapour and temperature profiles retrieved from Metop-A by the Infrared and Microwave Sounding scheme

Tim Trent1,2, Richard Siddens3,4, Brian Kerridge3,4, Marc Schroeder5, Noëlle A. Scott6, and John Remedios1,2 Tim Trent et al.
  • 1Earth Observation Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 2National Centre for Earth Observation, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 3RAL Space, Remote Sensing Group, Harwell Oxford, Chilton, UK
  • 4National Centre for Earth Observation, Harwell Oxford, Chilton, UK
  • 5Satellite-Based Climate Monitoring, Deutscher Wetterdienst/Frankfurter Strasse 135, 63067 Offenbach, Germany
  • 6Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique, Ecole Polytechnique–CNRS, 91128 Palaiseau, France

Abstract. Since 2007, the Meteorological Operational satellite (Metop) series of platforms operated by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) have provided valuable observations of the Earth's surface and atmosphere for meteorological and climate applications. With 15 years of data already collected, the next generation of Metop satellites will see this measurement record extend to and beyond 2045. With a primary role in operational meteorology, tropospheric temperature and water vapour profiles will be key data products produced using infrared and microwave-sounding instruments onboard. Considering the Metop data record that will span 40 years, these profiles will form an essential climate data record (CDR) for studying long-term atmospheric changes. Therefore, the performance of these products must be characterised to support the robustness of any current or future analysis. In this study, we validate 9.5 years of profile data produced using the Infrared and Microwave Sounding (IMS) scheme with the European Space Agency (ESA) Water Vapour Climate Change Initiative (WV_cci) against radiosondes from two different archives. The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) Reference Upper-Air Network (GRUAN) and Analysed RadioSoundings Archive (ARSA) data records were chosen for the validation exercise to provide the contrast between global observations (ARSA) with sparser characterised climate measurements (GRUAN). Results from this study show that IMS temperature and water vapour profile biases are within 1 K and 10 % of the reference for 'global' scales. We further demonstrate the difference day/night and cloud amount match-ups have on observed biases and discuss the implications sampling also plays on attributing these effects. Finally, we present a first look at the profile bias stability of the IMS product, relating trends in the bias to required climate performance. Overall, we find the results from this study demonstrate the real potential for tropospheric water vapour and temperature profile CDRs from the Metop series of platforms.

Tim Trent et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-757', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Sep 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-757', Xavier Calbet, 04 Oct 2022

Tim Trent et al.

Tim Trent et al.


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Short summary
Modern weather satellites provide essential information on our lower atmosphere's moisture content and temperature. This measurement record will span over 40 years, making it a valuable resource for climate studies. This study characterises atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles from a European Space Agency climate project. Using weather balloon measurements, we demonstrated the performance of this dataset was within the tolerances required for future climate studies.