COSMIC GPS Radio Occultation Temperature Profiles in Clouds

Lin, L.; Zou, X.; Anthes, R.; Kuo, Y-H.
April 2010
Monthly Weather Review;Apr2010, Vol. 138 Issue 4, p1104
Academic Journal
Thermodynamic states in clouds are closely related to physical processes such as phase changes of water and longwave and shortwave radiation. Global Positioning System (GPS) radio occultation (RO) data are not affected by clouds and have high vertical resolution, making them ideally suited to cloud profiling on a global basis. By comparing the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) RO refractivity data with those of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction–National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCEP–NCAR) reanalysis and ECMWF analysis for soundings in clouds and clear air separately, a systematic bias of opposite sign was found between large-scale global analyses and the GPS RO observations under cloudy and clear-sky conditions. As a modification to the standard GPS RO wet temperature retrieval that does not distinguish between cloudy- and clear-sky conditions, a new cloudy retrieval algorithm is proposed to incorporate the knowledge that in-cloud specific humidity (which affects the GPS refractivities) should be close to saturation. To implement this new algorithm, a linear regression model for a sounding-dependent relative humidity parameter α is first developed based on a high correlation between relative humidity and ice water content. In the absence of ice water content information, α takes an empirical value of 85%. The in-cloud temperature profile is then retrieved from GPS RO data modeled by a weighted sum of refractivities with and without the assumption of saturation. Compared to the standard wet retrieval, the cloudy temperature retrieval is consistently warmer within clouds by ∼2 K and slightly colder near the cloud top (∼1 K) and cloud base (1.5 K), leading to a more rapid increase of the lapse rate with height in the upper half of the cloud, from a nearly constant moist lapse rate below and at the cloud middle (∼6°C km−1) to a value of 7.7°C km−1, which must be closer to the dry lapse rate than the standard wet retrieval.


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