Validation of the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder temperature and geopotential height measurements



[1] 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.