Airborne and satellite remote sensing of the mid-infrared water vapour continuum
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Remote sensing of the atmosphere from space plays an increasingly important role in weather forecasting. Exploiting observations from the latest generation of weather satellites relies on an accurate knowledge of fundamental spectroscopy, including the water vapour continuum absorption. Field campaigns involving the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements research aircraft have collected a comprehensive dataset, comprising remotely sensed infrared radiance observations collocated with
... collocated with accurate measurements of the temperature and humidity structure of the atmosphere. These field measurements have been used to validate the strength of the infrared water vapour continuum in comparison with the latest laboratory measurements. The recent substantial changes to self-continuum coefficients in the widely used MT_CKD (Mlawer-Tobin-Clough-Kneizys-Davies) model between 2400 and 3200 cm −1 are shown to be appropriate and in agreement with field measurements. Results for the foreign continuum in the 1300-2000 cm −1 band suggest a weak temperature dependence that is not currently included in atmospheric models. A one-dimensional variational retrieval experiment is performed that shows a small positive benefit from using new laboratory-derived continuum coefficients for humidity retrievals.