ATMOS version 3 water vapor measurements: Comparisons with observations from two ER-2 Lyman- α hygrometers, MkIV, HALOE, SAGE II, MAS, and MLS

H. A. Michelsen*, G. L. Manney, F. W. Irion, G. C. Toon, M. R. Gunson, C. P. Rinsland, R. Zander, E. Mahieu, M. J. Newchurch, P. N. Purcell, E. E. Remsberg, H. C. Pumphrey, J. W. Waters, R. M. Bevilacqua, K. K. Kelly, E. J. Hintsa, E. M. Weinstock, E. W. Chiou, W. P. Chu, M. P. McCormickC. R. Webster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We have compared a new version of Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy Experiment (ATMOS) retrievals (version 3) of stratospheric and mesospheric water vapor with observations from shuttleborne, satelliteborne, balloonborne, and aircraftborne instruments. These retrievals show agreement to within 5% with the MkIV observations in the middle and lower stratosphere. ATMOS agrees with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Lyman-α hygrometer to within 5% except for features with spatial scales less than the vertical resolution of ATMOS (such as the lower stratospheric seasonal cycle). ATMOS observations are 10-16% lower than measurements from the Harvard Lyman-α hygrometer in the lower stratosphere and are 7-14% higher than those from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS; prototype version 0104) throughout most of the stratosphere. Agreement is within 7% with the Millimeter-Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS; version 20) in the middle and upper stratosphere, but differences are closer to 13% in the lower stratosphere. Throughout the stratosphere, agreement is within 8% with the Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE; version 19). ATMOS data from 1994 show agreement with the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment II (SAGE II; version 6) values to within 8% in the middle stratosphere, but ATMOS observations are systematically higher than those from SAGE II by as much as 41% in the lower stratosphere. In contrast, ATMOS 1985 values are systematically ∼50% lower than SAGE II values from sunset occultations in the lower stratosphere near 70 hPa but appear to be in better agreement with sunrise occultations. Version 3 retrievals in the upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere are typically 5-10% lower than version 2 values between 1 and 0.05 hPa. This reduction improves agreement with HALOE, MAS, and MLS upper atmospheric observations, but ATMOS values still tend to be higher than values from these instruments in the middle mesosphere. Agreement among the instruments compared here (except for SAGE II) is generally within 15% in the middle to lower stratosphere and mesosphere and within 10% in the middle to upper stratosphere. At altitudes near 30 km, all instruments (including SAGE II) agree to within 10%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-1-2-19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Comparison
  • Stratosphere
  • Validation
  • Water vapor


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