Research Output
A comparison of OEM CO retrievals from the IASI and MOPITT instruments
  Observations of atmospheric carbon monoxide (CO) can only be made on continental and global scales by remote sensing instruments situated in space. One such instrument is the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI), producing spectrally resolved, top-of-atmosphere radiance measurements from which CO vertical layers and total columns can be retrieved. This paper presents a technique for intercomparisons of satellite data with low vertical resolution. The example in the paper also generates the first intercomparison between an IASI CO data set, in this case that produced by the University of Leicester IASI Retrieval Scheme (ULIRS), and the V3 and V4 operationally retrieved CO products from the Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument. The comparison is performed for a localised region of Africa, primarily for an ocean day-time configuration, in order to develop the technique for instrument intercomparison in a region with well defined a priori.

By comparing both the standard data and a special version of MOPITT data retrieved using the ULIRS a priori for CO, it is shown that standard intercomparisons of CO are strongly affected by the differing a priori data of the retrievals, and by the differing sensitivities of the two instruments. In particular, the differing a priori profiles for MOPITT V3 and V4 data result in systematic retrieved profile changes as expected. An application of averaging kernels is used to derive a difference quantity which is much less affected by smoothing error, and hence more sensitive to systematic error. These conclusions are confirmed by simulations with model profiles for the same region. This technique is used to show that for the data that has been processed the systematic bias between MOPITT V4 and ULIRS IASI data, at MOPITT vertical resolution, is less than 7 % for the comparison data set, and on average appears to be less than 4 %. The results of this study indicate that intercomparisons of satellite data sets with low vertical resolution should ideally be performed with: retrievals using a common a priori appropriate to the geographic region studied; the application of averaging kernels to compute difference quantities with reduced a priori influence; and a comparison with simulated differences using model profiles for the target gas in the region.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    02 May 2011

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  • Publisher

    Copernicus GmbH

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  • Funders:

    Historic Funder (pre-Worktribe)


Illingworth, S. M., Remedios, J. J., Boesch, H., Ho, S., Edwards, D., Palmer, P., & Gonzi, S. (2011). A comparison of OEM CO retrievals from the IASI and MOPITT instruments. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 4, 775-793.


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