Articles | Volume 14, issue 23
Technical note
11 Dec 2014
Technical note |  | 11 Dec 2014

Technical Note: Reanalysis of upper troposphere humidity data from the MOZAIC programme for the period 1994 to 2009

H. G. J. Smit, S. Rohs, P. Neis, D. Boulanger, M. Krämer, A. Wahner, and A. Petzold

Abstract. In situ observational data on the relative humidity (RH) in the upper troposphere and lowermost stratosphere (UT/LS), or tropopause region, collected aboard civil passenger aircraft in the MOZAIC (Measurements of OZone, water vapour, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides by in-service AIrbus airCraft) programme were reanalysed for the period 2000 to 2009. Previous analyses of probability distribution functions (PDFs) of upper troposphere humidity (UTH) data from MOZAIC observations from year 2000 and later indicated a bias of UTH data towards higher RH values compared to data of the period 1994 to 1999. As a result, the PDF of UTH data show a substantial fraction of observations above 100% relative humidity with respect to liquid water. Such supersaturations, however, do not occur in the atmosphere because there is always a sufficient number of condensation nuclei available, that trigger condensation as soon as liquid saturation is slightly exceeded. An in-depth reanalysis of the data set identified a coding error in the calibration procedure from year 2000 on. The error did not affect earlier data from 1994 to 1999. The full data set for 2000–2009 was reanalysed applying the corrected calibration procedure. Applied correction schemes and a revised error analysis are presented along with the reanalysed PDF of relative humidity with respect to liquid water (RHliquid) and ice (RHice).

Short summary
Long-term water vapour measurements from the MOZAIC programme are a unique source for upper troposphere humidity data. However, due to an error in the calibration procedure, RH data from MOZAIC were biased towards higher values for the period starting in year 2000. Here we report the procedures followed to reanalyse the calibrations and to reprocess the entire MOZAIC RH data. This study serves as the reference publication for the reanalysed MOZAIC RH data base for the period 1994 to 2009.
Final-revised paper