[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) instrument is a small satellite-borne radio telescope. Its purpose is to make limb-scanning measurements of atmospheric composition. One of the gases to which it is sensitive is carbon monoxide (CO), detected via the J = 2 → 1 rotational transition at 230 GHz. CO is present in molecular gas clouds in the Milky Way. Although it was not designed for the purpose, MLS can detect emissions from galactic CO, allowing a map of the 230 GHz radio sky to be constructed. We report the MLS measurements of galactic radio emission and discuss their effect on the atmospheric mission of MLS. The region of the Milky Way with emissions strong enough to significantly affect MLS observations of atmospheric CO is identified. Ground-based radio astronomers have been mapping the sky using CO emission for many years. However, the MLS data are the first such survey to be carried out from space. The MLS survey covers a larger area of the sky than any other 230 GHz survey, but no previously unknown gas clouds are observed.
Advances in Space Research 01/2009; · 1.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1] The Earth Observing System (EOS) Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) aboard the Aura satellite has provided daily global HCl profiles since August 2004. We provide a characterization of the resolution, random and systematic uncertainties, and known issues for the version 2.2 MLS HCl data. The MLS sampling allows for comparisons with many ($1500 to more than 3000) closely matched profiles from the Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) and Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer (ACE-FTS). These data sets provide HCl latitudinal distributions that are, overall, very similar to those from (coincident) MLS profiles, although there are some discrepancies in the upper stratosphere between the MLS and HALOE gradients. As found in previous work, MLS and ACE HCl profiles agree very well (within $5%, on average), but the MLS HCl abundances are generally larger (by 10–20%) than HALOE HCl. The bias versus HALOE is unlikely to arise mostly from MLS, as a similar systematic bias (of order 15%) is not observed between average MLS and balloon-borne measurements of HCl, obtained over Fort Sumner, New Mexico, in 2004 and 2005. At the largest pressure (147 hPa) for MLS HCl, a high bias ($0.2 ppbv) is apparent in analyses of low to midlatitude data versus in situ aircraft chemical ionization mass spectrometry (CIMS) HCl measurements from the Aura Validation Experiment (AVE) campaigns in 2004, 2005, and 2006; this bias is also observed in comparisons of MLS and aircraft HCl/O 3 correlations. Good agreement between MLS and CIMS HCl is obtained at 100 to 68 hPa. The recommended pressure range for MLS HCl is from 100 to 0.15 hPa.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Global satellite observations of ozone and carbon monoxide from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the EOS Aura spacecraft are discussed with emphasis on those observations in the 215–100 hPa region (the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere). The precision, resolution and accuracy of the data produced by the MLS “version 2.2” processing algorithms are discussed and quantified. O3 accuracy is estimated at ~40 ppbv +5% (~20 ppbv +20% at 215 hPa) while the CO accuracy is estimated at ~30 ppbv +30% for pressures of 147 hPa and less. Comparisons with expectations and other observations show good agreements for the O3 product, generally consistent with the systematic errors quoted above. In the case of CO, a persistent factor of ~2 high bias is seen at 215 hPa. However, the morphology is shown to be realistic, consistent with raw MLS radiance data, and useful for scientific study. The MLS CO data at higher altitudes are shown to be consistent with other observations.
Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres. 01/2008;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1] The Earth Observing System (EOS) Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) aboard the Aura satellite has provided essentially daily global measurements of ozone (O 3) profiles from the upper troposphere to the upper mesosphere since August of 2004. This paper focuses on validation of the MLS stratospheric standard ozone product and its uncertainties, as obtained from the 240 GHz radiometer measurements, with a few results concerning mesospheric ozone. We compare average differences and scatter from matched MLS version 2.2 profiles and coincident ozone profiles from other satellite instruments, as well as from aircraft lidar measurements taken during Aura Validation Experiment (AVE) campaigns. Ozone comparisons are also made between MLS and balloon-borne remote and in situ sensors. We provide a detailed characterization of random and systematic uncertainties for MLS ozone. We typically find better agreement in the comparisons using MLS version 2.2 ozone than the version 1.5 data. The agreement and the MLS uncertainty estimates in the stratosphere are often of the order of 5%, with values closer to 10% (and occasionally 20%) at the lowest stratospheric altitudes, where small positive MLS biases can be found. There is very good agreement in the latitudinal distributions obtained from MLS and from coincident profiles from other satellite instruments, as well as from aircraft lidar data along the MLS track.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assess the quality of the version 2.2 (v2.2) ClO measurements from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the Earth Observing System Aura satellite. The MLS v2.2 ClO data are scientifically useful over the range 100 to 1 hPa, with a single-profile precision of ~0.1 ppbv throughout most of the vertical domain. Vertical resolution is ~3–4 km. Comparisons with climatology and correlative measurements from a variety of different platforms indicate that both the amplitude and the altitude of the peak in the ClO profile in the upper stratosphere are well determined by MLS. The latitudinal and seasonal variations in the ClO distribution in the lower stratosphere are also well determined, but a substantial negative bias is present in both daytime and nighttime mixing ratios at retrieval levels below (i.e., pressures larger than) 22 hPa. Outside of the winter polar vortices, this negative bias can be eliminated by subtracting gridded or zonal mean nighttime values from the individual daytime measurements. In studies for which knowledge of lower stratospheric ClO mixing ratios inside the winter polar vortices to better than a few tenths of a ppbv is needed, however, day − night differences are not recommended and the negative bias must be corrected for by subtracting the estimated value of the bias from the individual measurements at each affected retrieval level.
Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres 01/2008; · 3.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Global satellite observations of temperature and geopotential height (GPH) from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the EOS Aura spacecraft are discussed. The precision, resolution, and accuracy of the data produced by the MLS version 2.2 processing algorithms are quantified, and recommendations for data screening are made. Temperature precision is 1 K or better from 316 hPa to 3.16 hPa, degrading to ∼3 K at 0.001 hPa. The vertical resolution is 3 km at 31.6 hPa, degrading to 6 km at 316 hPa and to ∼13 km at 0.001 hPa. Comparisons with analyses (Goddard Earth Observing System version 5.0.1 (GEOS-5), European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Met Office (MetO)) and other observations (CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP), Atmospheric Infrared Sounder/Advanced Microwave Sounder Unit (AIRS/AMSU), Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Radiometry (SABER), Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE), Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment (ACE), radiosondes) indicate that MLS temperature has persistent, pressure-dependent biases which are between −2.5 K and +1 K between 316 hPa and 10 hPa. The 100-hPa MLS v2.2 GPH surface has a bias of ∼150 m relative to the GEOS-5 values. These biases are compared to modeled systematic uncertainties. GPH biases relative to correlative measurements generally increase with height owing to an overall cold bias in MLS temperature relative to correlative temperature measurements in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere.
Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres 01/2008; 113. · 3.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The NRC's Earth Science and Applications from Space decadal survey calls for a mission (GACM) to study global atmospheric composition, "with sufficient vertical resolution to detect the presence, transport, and chemical transformation of atmospheric layers from the surface to the lower stratosphere." Microwave limb sounding is particularly well suited for providing this information for the upper troposphere and above. The Microwave Limb Sounders on Aura and UARS have provided global measurements that have: quantified the evolution of the ozone layer; characterized the water vapor and cloud ice feedback mechanisms affecting climate change; documented the long range transport of pollution through tracers like CO; and improved the accuracy of global circulation models used for weather and climate forecasts. The Scanning Microwave Limb Sounder (SMLS) concept builds on the success of these instruments by adding an azimuth scan and increasing the antenna height to greatly improve horizontal and vertical resolution. The measurement swath is wide enough to provide, depending on orbit inclination, six or more daily measurements over midlatitudes. SMLS will incorporate a novel antenna design that enables rapid horizontal scanning, 4 Kelvin receiver front ends, advanced digital receiver back ends, and several lessons learned from previous missions. We will discuss the instrument design, technology development and readiness, and our approach to on-orbit calibration. We will also discuss plans and goals for a demonstration instrument that takes advantage of technologies developed through ESTO and other NASA and non-NASA programs. cameo.php
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We discuss measurements of stratospheric BrO obtained by the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the Aura satellite. These measurements span an altitude range of 32 to 42 km. Previous validation of MLS BrO in the mid- latitudes and tropics took advantage of the diurnal variation of BrO at those latitudes to remove large biases in the data. For winter and summer polar BrO, we cannot remove biases that way. Therefore we use a different method, estimating the biases from non-polar regions, as well as from polar regions in the spring and fall, when polar BrO undergoes a diurnal variation. We then subtract these estimates from the MLS BrO data. To compare polar MLS BrO measurements with lower-altitude measurements obtained by the balloon-borne instruments DOAS, SAOZ-BrO, and SLS, we use a photochemical model to infer total inorganic bromine (Bry). Since Bry, unlike BrO, should remain approximately constant with altitude, it provides a proxy for comparison.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present validation studies of MLS version 2.2 upper tropospheric and stratospheric ozone profiles using ozonesonde and lidar data as well as climatological data. Ozone measurements from over 60 ozonesonde stations worldwide and three lidar stations are compared with coincident MLS data. The MLS ozone stratospheric data between 150 and 3 hPa agree well with ozonesonde measurements, within 8% for the global average. MLS values at 215 hPa are biased high compared to ozonesondes by ~20% at middle to high latitude, although there is a lot of variability in this altitude region. Comparisons between MLS and ground-based lidar measurements from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, from the Table Mountain Facility, California, and from the Observatoire de Haute-Provence, France, give very good agreement, within ~5%, for the stratospheric values. The comparisons between MLS and the Table Mountain Facility tropospheric ozone lidar show that MLS data are biased high by ~30% at 215 hPa, consistent with that indicated by the ozonesonde data. We obtain better global average agreement between MLS and ozonesonde partial column values down to 215 hPa, although the average MLS values at low to middle latitudes are higher than the ozonesonde values by up to a few percent. MLS v2.2 ozone data agree better than the MLS v1.5 data with ozonesonde and lidar measurements. MLS tropical data show the wave one longitudinal pattern in the upper troposphere, with similarities to the average distribution from ozonesondes. High upper tropospheric ozone values are also observed by MLS in the tropical Pacific from June to November.
Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, D24S34. 01/2007;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1] The quality of the version 2.2 (v2.2) middle atmosphere water vapor and nitrous oxide measurements from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura satellite is assessed. The impacts of the various sources of systematic error are estimated by a comprehensive set of retrieval simulations. Comparisons with correlative data sets from ground-based, balloon and satellite platforms operating in the UV/visible, infrared and microwave regions of the spectrum are performed. Precision estimates are also validated, and recommendations are given on the data usage. The v2.2 H 2 O data have been improved over v1.5 by providing higher vertical resolution in the lower stratosphere and better precision above the stratopause. The single-profile precision is $0.2–0.3 ppmv (4–9%), and the vertical resolution is $3–4 km in the stratosphere. The precision and vertical resolution become worse with increasing height above the stratopause. Over the pressure range 0.1–0.01 hPa the precision degrades from 0.4 to 1.1 ppmv (6–34%), and the vertical resolution degrades to $12–16 km. The accuracy is estimated to be 0.2–0.5 ppmv (4–11%) for the pressure range 68–0.01 hPa. The scientifically useful range of the H 2 O data is from 316 to 0.002 hPa, although only the 82–0.002 hPa pressure range is validated here. Substantial improvement has been achieved in the v2.2 N 2 O data over v1.5 by reducing a significant low bias in the stratosphere and eliminating unrealistically high biased mixing ratios in the polar regions. The single-profile precision is $13–25 ppbv (7–38%), the vertical resolution is $4–6 km and the accuracy is estimated to be 3–70 ppbv (9–25%) for the pressure range 100–4.6 hPa. The scientifically useful range of the N 2 O data is from 100 to 1 hPa.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Validation of stratospheric BrO vertical profiles obtained by the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the Aura satellite is discussed. MLS BrO measurements are compared with expectations of its latitudinal and seasonal dependence, as well as with more localized balloon-borne measurements of BrO. We describe the expected precision and systematic errors of the version 2.2 retrieval and show that scientific studies using MLS BrO vertical profiles require extensive averaging to increase the signal-to-noise ratio to useful values. A monthly zonal mean over a 10° latitude bin (about 3,000 individual profiles) results in a precision of approximately +/-4 ppt (~25% of a typical daytime signal). Moreover, it is necessary to take day/night differences to remove large biases. The pressure range over which the data are considered useful is 10 to 3.2 hPa. Over this range, the estimated accuracy in the day/night difference is about +/-20%. The vertical resolution is 5.5 km for 10 to 3.2 hPa. Day/night differences are a good measure of daytime BrO from 10 to 4.6 hPa; for 3.2 hPa the nonnegligible nighttime BrO needs to be accounted for. We infer total inorganic bromine (Bry) to be 22.1 +/- 5.5 ppt on the basis of analysis of MLS measurements of BrO, which implies a contribution of 6.5 +/- 5.5 ppt to stratospheric bromine from sources other than long-lived CH3Br and halons.
Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres 01/2007; 112(D24S41). · 3.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:  The validation of version 2.2 (v2.2) H2O measurements from the Earth Observing System (EOS) Microwave Limb Sounder (Aura MLS) on the Aura satellite are presented. Results from comparisons made with Aqua Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), Vaisala radiosondes, frost point hygrometer, and WB57 aircraft hygrometers are presented. Comparisons with the Aura MLS v1.5 H2O, Goddard global modeling and assimilation office Earth Observing System analyses (GEOS-5) are also discussed. For H2O mixing ratios less than 500 ppmv, the MLS v2.2 has an accuracy better than 25% between 316 and 147 hPa. The precision is 65% at 316 hPa that reduces to 25% at 147 hPa. This performance is better than expected from MLS measurement systematic error analyses. MLS overestimates H2O for mixing ratios greater than 500 ppmv which is consistent with a scaling error in either the calibrated or calculated MLS radiances. The validation of the accuracy of MLS v2.2 H2O from 121 to 83 hPa which is expected to be better than 15% cannot be confirmed at this time because of large disagreements among the hygrometers used in the AVE campaigns. The precision of the v2.2 H2O from 121 to 83 hPa is 10 - 20%. The vertical resolution is 1.5 - 3.5 km depending on height. The horizontal resolution is 210 x 7 km(2) along and perpendicular to the Aura orbit track, respectively. Relative humidity is calculated from H2O and temperature. The precision, accuracy, and spatial resolution are worse than for H2O.
Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres 01/2007; 112(D24). · 3.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assess the quality of the version 2.2 (v2.2) HNO3 measurements from the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) on the Earth Observing System Aura satellite. The MLS HNO3 product has been greatly improved over that in the previous version (v1.5), with smoother profiles, much more realistic behavior at the lowest retrieval levels, and correction of a high bias caused by an error in one of the spectroscopy files used in v1.5 processing. The v2.2 HNO3 data are scientifically useful over the range 215 to 3.2 hPa, with single-profile precision of 0.7 ppbv throughout. Vertical resolution is 3–4 km in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere, degrading to 5 km in the middle and upper stratosphere. The impact of various sources of systematic uncertainty has been quantified through a comprehensive set of retrieval simulations. In aggregate, systematic uncertainties are estimated to induce in the v2.2 HNO3 measurements biases that vary with altitude between ±0.5 and ±2 ppbv and multiplicative errors of ±5–15% throughout the stratosphere, rising to ±30% at 215 hPa. Consistent with this uncertainty analysis, comparisons with correlative data sets show that relative to HNO3 measurements from ground-based, balloon-borne, and satellite instruments operating in both the infrared and microwave regions of the spectrum, MLS v2.2 HNO3 mixing ratios are uniformly low by 10–30% throughout most of the stratosphere. Comparisons with in situ measurements made from the DC-8 and WB-57 aircraft in the upper troposphere and lowermost stratosphere indicate that the MLS HNO3 values are low in this region as well, but are useful for scientific studies (with appropriate averaging). published D24S40 1.7. Osservazioni di alta e media atmosfera JCR Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Earth Observing System Microwave Limb Sounder measures several atmospheric chemical species (OH, HO<sub>2</sub>, H<sub>2</sub>O, O<sub>3</sub>, HCl, ClO, HOCl, BrO, HNO<sub>3</sub>, N<sub>2</sub>O, CO, HCN, CH<sub>3</sub>CN, volcanic SO<sub>2</sub>), cloud ice, temperature, and geopotential height to improve our understanding of stratospheric ozone chemistry, the interaction of composition and climate, and pollution in the upper troposphere. All measurements are made simultaneously and continuously, during both day and night. The instrument uses heterodyne radiometers that observe thermal emission from the atmospheric limb in broad spectral regions centered near 118, 190, 240, and 640 GHz, and 2.5 THz. It was launched July 15, 2004 on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Aura satellite and started full-up science operations on August 13, 2004. An atmospheric limb scan and radiometric calibration for all bands are performed routinely every 25 s. Vertical profiles are retrieved every 165 km along the suborbital track, covering 82°S to 82°N latitudes on each orbit. Instrument performance to date has been excellent; data have been made publicly available; and initial science results have been obtained.
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 06/2006; · 3.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper describes the optics design and field-of-view (FOV) calibration for five radiometers covering 114-660 GHz which share a common antenna in the Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Aura satellite. Details of near-field pattern measurements are presented. Estimated systematic scaling uncertainties (3σ) on calibrated limb emissions, due to FOV calibration uncertainties, are below 0.4%. 3σ uncertainties in beamwidth and relative pointing of radiometer boresights are 0.006° and 0.003°, respectively. The uncertainty in modeled instrument response, due to the scan dependence of FOV patterns, is less than ±0.24 K equivalent black-body temperature. Refinements to the calibration using in-flight data are presented.
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 06/2006; · 3.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Microwave Limb Sounder instrument was launched aboard NASA's EOS AURA satellite in July, 2004. The overall scientific objectives for MLS are to measure temperature, pressure, and several important chemical species in the upper troposphere and stratosphere relevant to ozone processes and climate change. MLS consists of a suite of radiometers designed to operate from 11 8 GHz to 2.5 THz, with two antennas (one for 2.5 THz, the other for the lower frequencies) that scan vertically through the atmospheric limb, and spectrometers with spectral resolution of 6 MHz at spectral line centers. This paper describes the on-orbit commissioning the MLS instrument which includes activation and engineering functional verifications and calibrations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) instrument, launched in July of 2004 on NASA's EOS Aura satellite, has been in its nominal science operating mode since August 2004. The objective of EOS MLS is to obtain measurements of atmospheric composition, temperature and pressure through observations of millimeter- and submillimeter-wavelength thermal emission as the instrument field-of-view is scanned through the atmospheric limb. The MLS instrument has completed activation, in-orbit calibrations have been performed leading to adjustments to radiometric calibration (Level 1) algorithms, a software upgrade was implemented for more robust operation of the laser local oscillator, and engineering performance trends have been established. This paper discusses the current status of the MLS instrument which now continuously provides data to produce global maps of targeted chemical species as well as temperature, cloud ice, and gravity wave activity. Performance trends are assessed with respect to characterization during initial on-orbit activation of the instrument, and with data from ground test verification prior to launch.