Assessment of COSMIC radio occultation and AIRS hyperspectral IR sounder temperature products in the stratosphere using observed radiances
Upper air temperature is defined as an essential climate variable by the World Meteorological Organization. Two remote sensing technologies being promoted for monitoring stratospheric temperatures are GPS radio occultation (RO) and spectrally resolved IR radiances. This study assesses RO and hyperspectral IR sounder derived temperature products within the stratosphere by comparing IR spectra calculated from GPS RO and IR sounder products to coincident IR observed radiances, which are used as a reference standard. RO dry temperatures from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) mission are compared to NASA Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) retrievals using a previously developed profile-to-profile collocation method and vertical temperature averaging kernels. Brightness temperatures (BTs) are calculated for both COSMIC and AIRS temperature products and are then compared to coincident AIRS measurements. The COSMIC calculated minus AIRS measured BTs exceed the estimated 0.5 K measurement uncertainty for the winter time extratropics around 35 hPa. These differences are attributed to seasonal UCAR COSMIC biases. Unphysical vertical oscillations are seen in the AIRS L2 temperature product in austral winter Antarctic regions, and results imply a small AIRS tropical warm bias around 35 hPa in the middle stratosphere.