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Keywords:

  • nitrous oxide;
  • methane;
  • polar stratosphere;
  • validation;
  • satellite sensor;
  • Improved Limb Atmospheric Spectrometer (ILAS)

[1] Vertical profiles of nitrous oxide and methane at high latitudes (57–72°N; 64–89°S) were observed by the Improved Limb Atmospheric Spectrometer (ILAS) solar occultation sensor aboard Advanced Earth Observing Satellite. These measurements were made continuously from November 1996 through June 1997 with some additional periods in September–October 1996. A validation study of the nitrous oxide and methane data processed with the Version 5.20 ILAS retrieval algorithm is presented in this paper. Comparisons are made with (1) nitrous oxide and methane obtained by the ILAS validation balloon campaigns at Kiruna, Sweden, and at Fairbanks, Alaska, in the Arctic; (2) nitrous oxide and methane by the Photochemistry of Ozone Loss in the Arctic Region in Summer aircraft campaign in the Arctic; (3) nitrous oxide by the ground-based spectroscopic measurements and by the aircraft-based remote sensing measurements in the Arctic; and (4) methane by satellite measurements of the Version 19 Halogen Occultation Experiment in the Arctic and Antarctic. Comparisons of ILAS nitrous oxide and methane with Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite Reference Atmosphere data are also made. The results of the comparisons and additional ILAS internal consistency analyses are as follows: (1) the uncertainty of ILAS nitrous oxide is better than 10% over 10–30 km in altitude, and is larger than 50% over 30–40 km, which is comparable to the expected total errors of the ILAS measurements; (2) the uncertainty of ILAS methane is better than 10% over 10–50 km, except for 15–30 km in winter with positive biases exceeding 20%, which is smaller than or comparable to the expected total errors of the ILAS measurements (the quality of ILAS methane in the polar lower stratosphere is better in summer than in winter). In summary, the characteristics of ILAS measurements, i.e., high sampling frequency in polar latitudes with high vertical resolution, along with the good quality of ILAS Version 5.20 nitrous oxide for 10–40 km and the good quality of ILAS Version 5.20 methane for 10–50 km except for 15–30 km in winter, make the ILAS nitrous oxide and methane data set valuable for scientific study of various polar stratospheric phenomena.