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Regional correction of ocean surface specific humidity derived from satellite sensor data

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A method is proposed to increase the accuracy of satellite sensor-derived near-surface humidity estimates. The method uses an operational atmospheric circulation model to correct the satellite sensor estimates of humidity from their regional bias. The method was applied to twelve orbits of the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) selected between 1997 and 1998. The SSM/I-derived humidity estimates were corrected with respect to analyses of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model. The SSM/I humidities were compared to observations of the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (COADS), before and after correction with respect to the ECMWF products. The results show that the proposed method decreased the rms. error between SSM/I and COADS specific humidity by 20%. Independent application of the method in the context of a field experiment indicated that the deviation between satellite sensor-derived humidity and in situ observations was decreased by 13% if the correction was applied.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire d'Océanographie Dynamique et de Climatologie, UMR 7617. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, LODYC Boite 100, 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France;, Email: 2: California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Mail Stop 300-323, Pasadena CA 91109, USA;, Email:

Publication date: August 1, 2003

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