Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) sounding evaluation and analysis of the pre-convective environment



[1] The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) is a hyperspectral instrument onboard the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth Observing System (EOS) Aqua satellite. This study investigates the performance of AIRS soundings in characterizing the stability in the pre-convective environment of the southeastern United States. AIRS soundings are collocated with radiosonde observations within ±1 degree and 2 h of the Aqua overpass. For each case, the AIRS sounding with maximum PBest quality indicator (signifying the pressure level above which the sounding is of best quality) is chosen for analysis. Rapid Update Cycle soundings from 1800 UTC analyses are used to evaluate the results from AIRS. Precipitable water and stability indices including convective available potential energy, convective inhibition, Lifted Index, K-Index, and Total Totals are derived from all soundings. Results indicate that AIRS underestimates instability due to a dry bias at the surface and roughly 900 hPa. A simple method is presented for reconstructing a RAOB-like inversion (in terms of magnitude and altitude) within AIRS soundings, hence developing more representative RAOB-like soundings that can benefit the operational forecaster.