Articles | Volume 8, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 2151–2188, 2008

Special issue: MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmosphere Sounding):...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 2151–2188, 2008

  16 Apr 2008

16 Apr 2008

MIPAS: an instrument for atmospheric and climate research

H. Fischer1, M. Birk2, C. Blom1, B. Carli3, M. Carlotti4, T. von Clarmann1, L. Delbouille5, A. Dudhia6, D. Ehhalt7, M. Endemann8, J. M. Flaud9, R. Gessner10, A. Kleinert1, R. Koopman8, J. Langen8, M. López-Puertas11, P. Mosner10, H. Nett8, H. Oelhaf1, G. Perron12, J. Remedios13, M. Ridolfi4, G. Stiller1, and R. Zander5 H. Fischer et al.
  • 1Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe und Univ. Karlsruhe, Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Germany
  • 3Istituto di Fisica Applicata, N. Carrara (IFAC) del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Firenze, Italy
  • 4Dipartimento di Chimica Fisica e Inorganica – University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
  • 5Groupe Infra-Rouge de Physique Atmosphérique et Solaire (GIRPAS), Département AGO, Université de Liège, Belgium
  • 6Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University, UK
  • 7Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institut für Atmosphärische Chemie, (ICG3), Jülich, Germany
  • 8ESA/ESRIN, Frascati, Italy and ESA/ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
  • 9Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA), CNRS, Université Paris VII et XII, France
  • 10EADS Astrium GmbH, Friedrichshafen und München, Germany
  • 11Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA), Granada, Spain
  • 12ABB Bomem Inc., Quebec, Canada
  • 13Earth Observation Science (EOS), Space Research Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Univ. of Leicester, UK

Abstract. MIPAS, the Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding, is a mid-infrared emission spectrometer which is part of the core payload of ENVISAT. It is a limb sounder, i.e. it scans across the horizon detecting atmospheric spectral radiances which are inverted to vertical temperature, trace species and cloud distributions. These data can be used for scientific investigations in various research fields including dynamics and chemistry in the altitude region between upper troposphere and lower thermosphere.

The instrument is a well calibrated and characterized Fourier transform spectrometer which is able to detect many trace constituents simultaneously. The different concepts of retrieval methods are described including multi-target and two-dimensional retrievals. Operationally generated data sets consist of temperature, H2O, O3, CH4, N2O, HNO3, and NO2 profiles. Measurement errors are investigated in detail and random and systematic errors are specified. The results are validated by independent instrumentation which has been operated at ground stations or aboard balloon gondolas and aircraft. Intercomparisons of MIPAS measurements with other satellite data have been carried out, too. As a result, it has been proven that the MIPAS data are of good quality.

MIPAS can be operated in different measurement modes in order to optimize the scientific output. Due to the wealth of information in the MIPAS spectra, many scientific results have already been published. They include intercomparisons of temperature distributions with ECMWF data, the derivation of the whole NOy family, the study of atmospheric processes during the Antarctic vortex split in September~2002, the determination of properties of Polar Stratospheric Clouds, the downward transport of NOx in the middle atmosphere, the stratosphere-troposphere exchange, the influence of solar variability on the middle atmosphere, and the observation of Non-LTE effects in the mesosphere.

Final-revised paper