Near-Continuous Profiling of Temperature, Moisture, and Atmospheric Stability Using the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI)

W. F. Feltz, W. L. Smith, H. B. Howell, R. O. Knuteson, H. Woolf, H. E. Revercomb
2003 Journal of applied meteorology (1988)  
The Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) has funded the development and installation of five ground-based atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer (AERI) systems at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) site. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the AERI instrument, improvement of the AERI temperature and moisture retrieval technique, new profiling utility, and validation of high-temporal-resolution AERI-derived stability indices important for
more » ... important for convective nowcasting. AERI systems have been built at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, and deployed in the Oklahoma-Kansas area collocated with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 404-MHz wind profilers at Lamont, Vici, Purcell, and Morris, Oklahoma, and Hillsboro, Kansas. The AERI systems produce absolutely calibrated atmospheric infrared emitted radiances at one-wavenumber resolution from 3 to 20 m at less than 10-min temporal resolution. The instruments are robust, are automated in the field, and are monitored via the Internet in near-real time. The infrared radiances measured by the AERI systems contain meteorological information about the vertical structure of temperature and water vapor in the planetary boundary layer (PBL; 0-3 km). A mature temperature and water vapor retrieval algorithm has been developed over a 10-yr period that provides vertical profiles at less than 10-min temporal resolution to 3 km in the PBL. A statistical retrieval is combined with the hourly Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) sounder water vapor or Rapid Update Cycle, version 2, numerical weather prediction (NWP) model profiles to provide a nominal hybrid first guess of temperature and moisture to the AERI physical retrieval algorithm. The hourly satellite or NWP data provide a best estimate of the atmospheric state in the upper PBL; the AERI radiances provide the mesoscale temperature and moisture profile correction in the PBL to the large-scale GOES and NWP model profiles at high temporal resolution. The retrieval product has been named AERIplus because the first guess used for the mathematical physical inversion uses an optimal combination of statistical climatological, satellite, and numerical model data to provide a best estimate of the atmospheric state. The AERI physical retrieval algorithm adjusts the boundary layer temperature and moisture structure provided by the hybrid first guess to fit the observed AERI downwelling radiance measurement. This provides a calculated AERI temperature and moisture profile using AERIobserved radiances "plus" the best-known atmospheric state above the boundary layer using NWP or satellite data. AERIplus retrieval accuracy for temperature has been determined to be better than 1 K, and water vapor retrieval accuracy is approximately 5% in absolute water vapor when compared with well-calibrated radiosondes from the surface to an altitude of 3 km. Because AERI can monitor the thermodynamics where the atmosphere usually changes most rapidly, atmospheric stability tendency information is readily available from the system. High-temporal-resolution retrieval of convective available potential energy, convective inhibition, and PBL equivalent potential temperature e are provided in near-real time from all five AERI systems at the ARM SGP site, offering a unique look at the atmospheric state. This new source of meteorological data has shown excellent skill in detecting rapid synoptic and mesoscale meteorological changes within clear atmospheric conditions. This method has utility in nowcasting temperature inversion strength and destabilization caused by e advection. This high-temporal-resolution monitoring of rapid atmospheric destabilization is especially important for nowcasting severe convection.
doi:10.1175/1520-0450(2003)042<0584:npotma>;2 fatcat:5btiphmkd5cvng7l5ayzluqy4i