2 May 2016 Atmospheric profiling via satellite to satellite occultations near water and ozone absorption lines for weather and climate
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Significantly reducing weather and climate prediction uncertainty requires global observations with substantially higher information content than present observations provide. While GPS occultations have provided a major advance, GPS observations of the atmosphere are limited by wavelengths chosen specifically to minimize interaction with the atmosphere. Significantly more information can be obtained via satellite to satellite occultations made at wavelengths chosen specifically to characterize the atmosphere. Here we describe such a system that will probe cm- and mmwavelength water vapor absorption lines called the Active Temperature, Ozone and Moisture Microwave Spectrometer (ATOMMS). Profiling both the speed and absorption of light enables ATOMMS to profile temperature, pressure and humidity simultaneously, which GPS occultations cannot do, as well as profile clouds and turbulence. We summarize the ATOMMS concept and its theoretical performance. We describe field measurements made with a prototype ATOMMS instrument and several important capabilities demonstrated with those ground based measurements including retrieving temporal variations in path-averaged water vapor to 1%, in clear, cloudy and rainy conditions, up to optical depths of 17, remotely sensing turbulence and determining rain rates. We conclude with a vision of a future ATOMMS low Earth orbiting satellite constellation designed to take advantage of synergies between observational needs for weather and climate, ATOMMS unprecedented orbital remote sensing capabilities and recent cubesat technological innovations that enable a constellation of dozens of very small spacecraft to achieve many critical, but as yet unfulfilled, monitoring and forecasting needs.
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E. R. Kursinski, E. R. Kursinski, D. Ward, D. Ward, A. C. Otarola, A. C. Otarola, J. McGhee, J. McGhee, M. Stovern, M. Stovern, K. Sammler, K. Sammler, H. Reed, H. Reed, D. Erickson, D. Erickson, C. McCormick, C. McCormick, E. Griggs, E. Griggs, "Atmospheric profiling via satellite to satellite occultations near water and ozone absorption lines for weather and climate", Proc. SPIE 9881, Earth Observing Missions and Sensors: Development, Implementation, and Characterization IV, 98810Z (2 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2224038; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2224038

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