A preliminary zonal mean climatology of water vapour in the stratosphere and mesosphere

Hugh C. Pumphrey*, D. Rind, J. M. Russell, J. E. Harries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The Microwave Limb Sounder on the UARS satellite measures water vapour concentration in the stratosphere and mesosphere. Water vapour profiles are retrieved from radiance measurements using a version of the optimal estimation algorithm. This requires an a priori profile which is obtained from a climatology. The MLS retrieval currently uses the standard UARS pre-launch climatology, which contains water vapour based ona 2-D model constrained to LIMS data in the stratosphere. This climatology has several defects which affect the ability of MLS to retrieve water vapour. This paper presents a new climatology constructed from the HALOE (HALogen Occultation Experiment) and SAGE II (Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment) data, which have become available recently. The new climatology is more realistic in several ways, particularly in the mesosphere and near the tropopause. It is proving to be an improvement as an a priori for MLS retrievals and might also have other uses. The paper will present the climatology, show how it was constructed, and compare it to the UARS pre-launch climatology and to various other data. As it stands, this climatology is not suitable for a reference atmosphere, but it is an improvement on CIRA part III in some ways simply because it contains more accurate data and shows a number of new features. Suggestions are made for constructing an improved reference climatology for middle atmosphere water vapour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1420
Number of pages4
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998


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