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Improved Retrieval of Total Water Vapor Over Polar Regions From AMSU-B Microwave Radiometer Data

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2 Author(s)
Melsheimer, C. ; Inst. of Environ. Phys., Univ. of Bremen, Bremen ; Heygster, G.

The polar regions are among those where the least information is available about the current and predicted states of surface and atmosphere. We present advances in a method to retrieve the total water vapor (TWV) of the polar atmosphere from data from spaceborne microwave radiometers such as the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit B (AMSU-B) on the polar-orbiting satellites of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA-15, -16, and -17. The starting point of the retrieval is a recently proposed algorithm that uses the three AMSU-B channels centered around the 183-GHz water vapor line and the window channel at 150 GHz, and that can retrieve the TWV with little dependence on the surface emissivity. This works up to TWV values of about 7 kg/m2. We extend the retrievable range toward higher TWV values by including the window channel at 89 GHz. However, now, the algorithm needs information on the surface emissivity, which we have extracted from emissivity measurements over sea ice and open water during the Surface Emissivities in Polar Regions-Polar Experiment campaign. The resulting algorithm can retrieve TWV up to about 15 kg/m2, with reduced accuracy as compared to the original algorithm. It now allows the monitoring of the TWV over the central Arctic sea ice and over Antarctica, and the surrounding sea ice during most of the year with a spatial resolution of about 50 km. Such TWV fields can show details which might be missed out by standard weather model analysis data.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 8 )