Comparison of water vapor measurements by airborne Sun photometer and near-coincident in situ and satellite sensors during INTEX/ITCT 2004

John Livingston, Beat Schmid, J. Redemann, Philip B. Russell, S. A. Ramirez, J. Eilers, Warren Gore, S. Howard, J. Pommier, Eric J. Fetzer, Swetzel W. Seemann, Evab Borbas, Daniel E. Wolfe, Anne M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We have retrieved columnar water vapor (CWV) from measurements acquired by the 14-channel NASA Ames Airborne Tracking Sun photometer (AATS-14) during 19 Jetstream 31 (J31) flights over the Gulf of Maine in summer 2004 in support of the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment (INTEX)/Intercontinental Transport and Chemical Transformation (ITCT) experiments. In this paper we compare AATS-14 water vapor retrievals during aircraft vertical profiles with measurements by an onboard Vaisala HMP243 humidity sensor and by ship radiosondes and with water vapor profiles retrieved from AIRS measurements during eight Aqua overpasses. We also compare AATS CWV and MODIS infrared CWV retrievals during five Aqua and five Terra overpasses. For 35 J31 vertical profiles, mean (bias) and RMS AATS-minus-Vaisala layer-integrated water vapor (LWV) differences are - 7.1% and 8.8%, respectively. For 22 aircraft profiles within 1 hour and 130 km of radiosonde soundings, AATS-minus-sonde bias and RMS LWV differences are -5.4% and 10.7%, respectively, and corresponding J31 Vaisala-minus-sonde differences are 2.3% and 8.4%, respectively. AIRS LWV retrievals within 80 km of J31 profiles yield lower bias and RMS differences compared to AATS or Vaisala retrievals than do AIRS retrievals within 150 km of the J31. In particular, for AIRS-minus-AATS LWV differences, the bias decreases from 8.8% to 5.8%, and the RMS difference decreases from 21.5% to 16.4%. Comparison of vertically resolved AIRS water vapor retrievals (LWVA) to AATS values in fixed pressure layers yields biases of -2% to +6% and RMS differences of ∼20% below 700 hPa. Variability and magnitude of these differences increase significantly above 700 hPa. MODIS IR retrievals of CWV in 205 grid cells (5 × 5 km at nadir) are biased wet by 10.4% compared to AATS over-ocean near-surface retrievals. The MODIS-Aqua subset (79 grid cells) exhibits a wet bias of 5.1%, and the MODIS-Terra subset (126 grid cells) yields a wet bias of 13.2%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberD12S16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 27 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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