Radiosonde humidity corrections and potential Atmospheric Infrared Sounder moisture accuracy



[1] Although there are a number of sources of radiosonde data for validation of observations from other atmospheric sensors, routine operational sondes remain the main source for a large volume of data. In this study radiosonde moisture profiles are renormalized using Global Positioning System (GPS) Integrated Precipitable Water (IPW) vapor. The GPS-adjusted radiosonde humidity profiles are then compared to the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) measurements. As a check, AIRS measurements are also compared with unadjusted radiosonde moisture profiles. It is shown that the GPS-adjusted values are in better agreement with the AIRS measurements. On the basis of this result, the GPS-adjusted radiosondes are used to assess the AIRS potential accuracy. This is valid because the errors in the AIRS measurements and the adjustments are independent. The GPS-based renormalization of radiosonde humidity measurements produced a significant improvement in the agreement between AIRS and Vaisala RS 57 H type radiosondes in the lower troposphere, where much of the atmospheric water vapor resides. The adjustment also resulted in improved agreement between AIRS and radiosonde IPW estimates. The results showed a day/night bias in the radiosonde values as compared to the GPS and the AIRS values, demonstrating the potential use of the technique for evaluating and correcting this bias. Established corrections for humidity errors also have been applied to some operational radiosonde observations, specifically the published temperature correction developed for the Vaisala RS80 H type radiosonde. This correction produced a much smaller effect than the GPS adjustment.