The SPARC water vapour assessment II: Comparison of stratospheric and lower mesospheric water vapour time series observed from satellites
Journal article, 2018

Time series of stratospheric and lower mesospheric water vapour using 33 data sets from 15 different satellite instruments were compared in the framework of the second SPARC (Stratosphere-troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate) water vapour assessment (WAVAS-II). This comparison aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the typical uncertainties in the observational database that can be considered in the future in observational and modelling studies, e.g addressing stratospheric water vapour trends. The time series comparisons are presented for the three latitude bands, the Antarctic (80°-70°S), the tropics (15°S-15°N) and the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes (50°-60°N) at four different altitudes (0.1, 3, 10 and 80hPa) covering the stratosphere and lower mesosphere. The combined temporal coverage of observations from the 15 satellite instruments allowed the consideration of the time period 1986-2014. In addition to the qualitative comparison of the time series, the agreement of the data sets is assessed quantitatively in the form of the spread (i.e. the difference between the maximum and minimum volume mixing ratios among the data sets), the (Pearson) correlation coefficient and the drift (i.e. linear changes of the difference between time series over time). Generally, good agreement between the time series was found in the middle stratosphere while larger differences were found in the lower mesosphere and near the tropopause. Concerning the latitude bands, the largest differences were found in the Antarctic while the best agreement was found for the tropics. From our assessment we find that most data sets can be considered in future observational and modelling studies, e.g. addressing stratospheric and lower mesospheric water vapour variability and trends, if data set specific characteristics (e.g. drift) and restrictions (e.g. temporal and spatial coverage) are taken into account.


F. Khosrawi

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Stefan Lossow

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

G. P. Stiller

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

K. H. Rosenlof

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Joachim Urban

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing, Global Environmental Measurements and Modelling

J. Burrows

Universität Bremen

R. Damadeo

NASA Langley Research Center

Patrick Eriksson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing

M. Garcia-Comas

Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia (IAA)

J. Gille

University of Colorado at Boulder

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Y. Kasai

Japan National Institute of Information and Communications Technology

M. Kiefer

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

G.E. Nedoluha

Naval Research Laboratory

S. Noël

Universität Bremen

P. Raspollini

Consiglo Nazionale Delle Richerche

W.G. Read

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

A. Rozanov

Universität Bremen

C. E. Sioris

Environment Canada

K.A. Walker

University of Toronto

K. Weigel

Universität Bremen

Atmospheric Measurement Techniques

1867-1381 (ISSN) 1867-8548 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 7 4435-4463

Subject Categories

Water Engineering

Physical Geography

Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources



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