Infrared sounding of the trade-wind boundary layer: AIRS and the RICO experiment

Martins JPA, Teixeira J, Soares PMM, Miranda PMA, Kahn BH, Dang V, Irion B, Fetzer EJ, Fishbein E
Geophysical Research Letters, 37:L24806, doi:10.1029/2010GL045902

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The new generation of remote sensors on board NASA's A-Train constellation offers the possibility of observing the atmospheric boundary layer in different regimes, with or without clouds. In this study we use data from the Atmospheric InfraRed Sounder (AIRS) and of the Rain In Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO) campaign, to verify the accuracy and precision of the AIRS Version 5 Level 2 support product. This AIRS product has an improved vertical sampling that is necessary for the estimation of boundary layer properties. Good agreement is found between AIRS and RICO data, in a regime of oceanic shallow cumulus that is known to be difficult to analyze with other remote sensing data, and also shows a low sensitivity to cloud or land fraction. This suggests that AIRS data may be used for global boundary layer studies to support parameterization development in regions of difficult in-situ observation.