Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Retrieval algorithm for total water vapour over the arctic from data of microwave sounder AMSU-B on the NOAA satellites

This algorithm takes the radiances measured by the satellite-bourne microwave radiometer AMSU-B (Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit B) at five different frequencies and calculates the total water vapour (also: integrated water vapour) of the atmosphere.

It is possible to retrieve total water vapour (TWV) up to about 7 kg/m2 independent of the potentially unknown surface emissivity. Such TWV values are typical over most of the Arctic in late autumn, winter and spring.

With the additional input of a rough estimate of sea ice emissivities, TWV over sea ice can be determined up to at least 12 kg/m2, but with a lower accuracy.

Maps of the polar total water vapour derived by our method show details that are missed by, e.g., model or reanalysis data because of the sparsity of observations.

There is currently no other way to retrieve water vapour data from satellite over the Arctic all year round, which makes this method particularly interesting for climate and weather modelling.

The possibility to assimilate total water vapour derived in such a way into numerical weather prediction models has been explored within this project. The total water vapour data might also be used together with regional models for water cycle investigations.

Another possible application is to merge the water vapour produced by this algorithm with data from other algorithms (that work, e.g., over non-polar regions in order to generate a global water vapour climatology.

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Reported by

University of Bremen, Institute of Environmental Physics
Otto-Hahn-Allee 1
28359 Bremen
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