Evaluation and Global-Scale Observation of Nitrous Oxide from IASI on Metop-A

Chalinel, Rémi ; Attié, Jean-Luc ; Ricaud, Philippe ; Vidot, Jérôme ; Kangah, Yannick ; Hauglustaine, Didier ; Thompson, Rona

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Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas difficult to estimate by satellite because of its weak spectral signature in the infra-red band and its low variability in the troposphere. Nevertheless, this study presents the evaluation of new tropospheric N2O observations from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounder Interferometer (IASI) on Metop-A using the Toulouse N2O Retrieval Version 2.0 tool. This tool is based on the Radiative Transfer for Tiros Operational Vertical sounder (RTTOV) model version 12.3 coupled to the Levenberg-Marquardt optimal estimation method enabling the simultaneous retrieval of methane, water vapour, temperature profiles together with surface temperature and emissivity within the 1240-1350 cm−1 window. In this study, we focused on the upper troposphere (300 hPa) where the sensitivity of IASI is significant. The IASI N2O data has been evaluated using aircraft N2O observations from the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) campaigns in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network (GGGRN) in 2011. In addition, we evaluated the IASI N2O using ground-based N2O measurements from 9 stations belonging to the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC). We found a total random error of ∼2 ppbv (0.6%) for one single retrieval at 300 hPa. Under favorable conditions, this error is also found in the vertical level pressure range 300-500 hPa. It decreases rapidly to ∼0.4 ppbv (0.1%) when we average on a 1° × 1° box. In addition, independent observations allows the estimation of bias with the IASI TN2OR v2.0 N2O. The bias between IASI and aircraft N2O data at 300 hPa is ∼1.0 ppbv (∼0.3%). We found an estimated random error of ∼2.3 ppbv (∼0.75%). This study also shows relatively high correlations between IASI data and aircraft in situ profiles but more varying correlations over the year 2011 depending on the location between IASI and NDACC remote sensing data. Finally, we present daily, monthly, and seasonal IASI N2O horizontal distributions in the upper troposphere as well as cross sections for different seasons that exhibit maxima in the Tropical band especially over Africa and South America.</p>

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