Stratospheric Ozone Isotope Enrichment Studied by Sub-Millimeter Wave Heterodyne Radiometry: The Observation Capabilities of SMILES
Journal article, 2006
The isotopic ratio of molecules often provides valuable information about past or presently occurring processes in the atmosphere because chemical and physical processes may give rise to isotope fractionation of molecular species. However, there are so far no published satellite measurements on the spatial and temporal variations of ozone isotopes in the stratosphere. Spectroscopic remote sensing methods can theoretically be used to observe ozone isotope fractionation on a global scale, but sufficient accuracy has not yet been achieved. A new generation of submillimeter-wave receivers employing sensitive superconductor-insulator - superconductor (SIS) detector technology will provide new opportunities for precise remote sensing measurements of ozone isotopes on a global scale. We have estimated the observation capabilities of two different SIS instruments, namely the space-station-borne Japanese Experimental Module/Sub-Millimeter-wave Limb Emission Sounder (JEM/SMILES) instrument, currently planned for launch in 2008, as well as the airborne Submillimeter wave Atmospheric Sounder/Airborne Submillimeter SIS Radiometer (SUMAS/ASUR) sensor. Measurements of the airborne sensor, conducted in 1996, are presented in order to demonstrate the detection of normal-O 3 and asymmetric-18-O 3 in the SMILES frequency bands. In the ideal case, JEM/SMILES has the capability to measure the ozone isotope enrichment (δ M O 3 ) in the middle stratosphere with a precision of ∼12%∼11%‰‰, and ∼9%‰, for asymmetric-18-O 3 , symmetric-17-O 3 , asymmetric-17-O 3 , respectively, for a daily zonal mean product with resolution of 10° in latitude. The systematic error, including contributions of all instrumental and spectroscopic uncertainties, is estimated to be of the order of 100%‰ to 200%‰ and should be reduced by prelaunch laboratory measurements and in-flight calibrations. A remaining bias in the SMILES measurements will have to be quantified by dedicated validation campaigns. JEM/SMILES should then be capable to provide valuable information on the global distribution and seasonal variation of ozone isotope fractionation in the stratosphere. This new technology will allow us to shed new light on this still open issue in atmospheric sciences. © 2006 IEEE.