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Clearsky biases in satellite infrared estimates of upper tropospheric humidity and its trends
 

Summary: Clearsky biases in satellite infrared estimates of upper
tropospheric humidity and its trends
Viju O. John,1
Gerrit Holl,2
Richard P. Allan,3
Stefan A. Buehler,2
David E. Parker,1
and Brian J. Soden4
Received 18 November 2010; revised 11 April 2011; accepted 15 April 2011; published 22 July 2011.
[1] We use microwave retrievals of upper tropospheric humidity (UTH) to estimate the
impact of clearskyonly sampling by infrared instruments on the distribution, variability,
and trends in UTH. Our method isolates the impact of the clearskyonly sampling,
without convolving errors from other sources. On daily time scales, IRsampled UTH
contains large data gaps in convectively active areas, with only about 2030 % of
the tropics (30S30N) being sampled. This results in a dry bias of about -9 %RH in the
areaweighted tropical daily UTH time series. On monthly scales, maximum clearsky bias
(CSB) is up to -30 %RH over convectively active areas. The magnitude of CSB
shows significant correlations with UTH itself (-0.5) and also with the variability in
UTH (-0.6). We also show that IRsampled UTH time series have higher interannual
variability and smaller trends compared to microwave sampling. We argue that a

  

Source: Allan, Richard P. - Department of Meteorology, University of Reading

 

Collections: Geosciences