Articles | Volume 11, issue 3
Research article
04 Feb 2011
Research article |  | 04 Feb 2011

The use of IASI data to identify systematic errors in the ECMWF forecasts of temperature in the upper stratosphere

G. Masiello, M. Matricardi, and C. Serio

Abstract. Since data from the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) became available in 2007, a number of papers have appeared in the literature which have reported relatively large discrepancies between IASI spectra and forward calculations in the centre of the CO2 Q-branch at 667 cm−1. In this paper we show that these discrepancies are primarily due to errors in the temperature profiles used in the forward calculations. In particular, we have used forecasts of temperature profiles from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to demonstrate that, for the case study considered in this paper, these profiles are affected by systematic errors of the order of ≈10 K at the level of the stratopause. To derive the magnitude and the spatial location of the systematic errors in the temperature profile, we have carried out forward/inverse calculations for a number of clear-sky, daytime, IASI tropical soundings over the sea. The forward calculations have been performed using atmospheric state vectors which have been obtained either from the direct inversion of the IASI radiances or from space-time co-located profiles derived from radiosonde observations and from the ECMWF model. To rule out any effect due to the accuracy of the forward model, we have performed the forward calculations using two independent models. The sensitivity of the temperature biases to the variability of the CO2 profile and to spectroscopy errors has also been studied.

Final-revised paper