The SPARC water vapor assessment II: intercomparison of satellite and ground-based microwave measurements

Nedoluha, Gerald E.; Kiefer, Michael; Lossow, Stefan; Gomez, R. Michael; Kämpfer, Niklaus; Lainer, Martin Lorenz Maximilian; Forkman, Peter; Christensen, Ole Martin; Oh, Jung Jin; Hartogh, Paul; Anderson, John; Bramstedt, Klaus; Dinelli, Bianca M.; Garcia-Comas, Maya; Hervig, Mark; Murtagh, Donal; Raspollini, Piera; Read, William G.; Rosenlof, Karen; Stiller, Gabriele P.; ... (2017). The SPARC water vapor assessment II: intercomparison of satellite and ground-based microwave measurements. Atmospheric chemistry and physics, 17(23), pp. 14543-14558. European Geosciences Union 10.5194/acp-17-14543-2017

acp-17-14543-2017.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (451kB) | Preview

As part of the second SPARC (Stratosphere–troposphere Processes And their Role in Climate) water vapor assessment (WAVAS-II), we present measurements taken from or coincident with seven sites from which ground-based microwave instruments measure water vapor in the middle atmosphere. Six of the ground-based instruments are part of the Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change (NDACC) and provide datasets that can be used for drift and trend assessment. We compare measurements from these ground-based instruments with satellite datasets that have provided retrievals of water vapor in the lower mesosphere over extended periods since 1996.

We first compare biases between the satellite and ground-based instruments from the upper stratosphere to the upper mesosphere. We then show a number of time series comparisons at 0.46 hPa, a level that is sensitive to changes in H₂O and CH₄ entering the stratosphere but, because almost all CH₄ has been oxidized, is relatively insensitive to dynamical variations. Interannual variations and drifts are investigated with respect to both the Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS; from 2004 onwards) and each instrument's climatological mean. We find that the variation in the interannual difference in the mean H₂O measured by any two instruments is typically  ~  1%. Most of the datasets start in or after 2004 and show annual increases in H₂O of 0–1 % yr⁻¹. In particular, MLS shows a trend of between 0.5 % yr⁻¹ and 0.7 % yr⁻¹ at the comparison sites. However, the two longest measurement datasets used here, with measurements back to 1996, show much smaller trends of +0.1 % yr−1 (at Mauna Loa, Hawaii) and −0.1 % yr⁻¹ (at Lauder, New Zealand).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Applied Physics
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Applied Physics > Microwaves

UniBE Contributor:

Kämpfer, Niklaus, Lainer, Martin Lorenz Maximilian


600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics




European Geosciences Union




Simone Corry

Date Deposited:

14 Jun 2018 16:00

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:12

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback