Spectroscopic requirements for ACCURATE, a microwave and infrared-laser occultation satellite mission

J.J. Harrison, P.F. Bernath, G. Kirchengast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The proposed satellite mission ACCURATE consists of a small constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit, combining microwave occultation for thermodynamic state profiling with infrared-laser occultation for greenhouse gas and line-of-sight wind profiling. The mission aims to detect six greenhouse gas molecules with four additional isotopologues (H O, CO , CH , N O, O , CO, CO , OC O, HDO, and H O) in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere in the 4000-5000cm spectral region. Greenhouse gas profiles will be retrieved to within 1-2% accuracy using a 'differential' method, requiring two spectral points for each species - one to sample the spectral line and the other nearby to sample the baseline.An estimation of retrieval errors for the ACCURATE mission reveals that errors in spectroscopic line parameters dominate all other error sources. Poor knowledge of the spectroscopy introduces systematic errors into the retrieved greenhouse gas profiles. Using a simple approach, it was shown that the best line parameters currently available are too large to allow retrievals of greenhouse gases to within the stated ACCURATE mission goals of 1% accuracy for CO and 2% for all other species. Therefore, spectroscopic line parameters for targeted lines need to be improved before the ACCURATE mission can be launched. Requirements have been formulated in this direction, and laboratory experiments outlined that could meet these requirements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2347-2354
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2011

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