Retrieval and characterization of ozone vertical profiles from a thermal infrared nadir sounder



[1] This paper presents the first retrievals and validations of ozone vertical distributions from a set of high-resolution nadir thermal infrared measurements. These were obtained by the Interferometric Monitor for Greenhouse gases (IMG) instrument, which has operated on board the Japanese ADEOS platform between 1996 and 1997. The Optimal Estimation Method is used for the retrievals, along with a priori profile and covariance matrix built from model climatologies. We compare the retrieved IMG profiles with high-vertical-resolution ozone sonde measurements. Therefore we selected a set of IMG spectra collocated to within 3° of longitude and latitude with a representative distribution of ground-based stations. We demonstrate that thanks to the two to four independent pieces of vertical information contained in the spectroscopic measurements with a maximum sensitivity in the upper troposphere–middle stratosphere, the thermal infrared nadir sounders are able to capture most of the ozone spatial and temporal variations. In particular, the latitudinal variations of the stratospheric ozone maximum are well represented in the retrievals, as are the high ozone concentrations observed in the upper troposphere–lower stratosphere at northern midlatitudes during springtime. Ozone depletion events in the Arctic vortex are also well reproduced. The measurements provide an accurate view of the tropospheric ozone content, except when the latter is very low. A detailed error budget reveals that the major part of the error in the IMG retrieved ozone profile is due to the smoothing of the true profile by the averaging kernel matrix, with additional contributions associated with the measurement noise and the inaccurate knowledge of the temperature profile and of the Instrument Line Shape (ILS).