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Information Content of A Synergy of Ground-based and Space-based Infrared Sounders. Part I: Clear-sky Environments


Profiles of atmospheric temperature and water vapor from remotely sensed platforms provide critical observations within the temporal and spatial gaps of the radiosonde network. The 2017 National Academies of Science Decadal Survey highlighted that observations of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) from the current space-based observing system are not of the necessary accuracy or resolution for monitoring and predicting high-impact weather phenomena. One possible solution to improving observations of the PBL is supplementing the existing space-based observing system with a network of ground-based profilers. A synthetic information content study is developed utilizing profiles from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program sites at the Southern Great Plains (SGP), east North Atlantic (ENA), and North Slope of Alaska (NSA) to assess the benefits, in terms of degrees of freedom (DOF), vertical resolution, and uncertainties, of a synergy between the ground-based Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) with space-based hyperspectral infrared (IR) sounders. A combination of AERI with any of the three polar-orbiting IR sounders: the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), or the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), results in a DOF increase of 30%–40% in the surface-to-700-hPa layer compared to the space-based instrument alone. Introducing AERI measurements to the observing system also results in significant improvements to vertical resolution and uncertainties in the bottom 1000 m of the atmosphere compared to CrIS measurements alone. A synergy of CrIS and AERI exceeds the 1-km-vertical-resolution goal set by the Decadal Survey in the lowest 1000 m.

Article / Publication Data
Available Metadata
Fiscal Year
Peer Reviewed
Publication Name
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Published On
June 01, 2022
Publisher Name
American Meteorological Society
Print Volume
Submitted On
August 31, 2021


Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.