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[en] The Far-Infrared Spectroscopy of the Troposphere (FIRST) instrument measured downwelling far-infrared (far-IR) and mid-infrared (mid-IR) atmospheric spectra from 200 to 800 cm"−"1 at Table Mountain, California (elevation 2285 m). Spectra were recorded during a field campaign conducted in early autumn 2012, subsequent to a detailed laboratory calibration of the instrument. Radiosondes launched coincident with the FIRST observations provide temperature and water vapor profiles for model simulation of the measured spectra. Results from the driest day of the campaign (October 19, with less than 3 mm precipitable water) are presented here. Considerable spectral development is observed between 400 and 600 cm"−"1. Over 90% of the measured radiance in this interval originates within 2.8 km of the surface. The existence of temperature inversions close to the surface necessitates atmospheric layer thicknesses as fine as 10 m in the radiative transfer model calculations. A detailed assessment of the uncertainties in the FIRST measurements and in the model calculations shows that the measured radiances agree with the model radiance calculations to within their combined uncertainties. The uncertainties in modeled radiance are shown to be larger than the measurement uncertainties. Overall, the largest source of uncertainty is in the water vapor concentration used in the radiative transfer calculations. Proposed new instruments with markedly higher measurement accuracy than FIRST will be able to measure the far-IR spectrum to much greater accuracy than it can be computed. As such, accurate direct measurements of the far-IR, and not solely calculations, are essential to the assessment of climate change. - Highlights: • Far-infrared radiative closure experiment conducted with well-calibrated instrument. • Substantial spectral development observed between 400 and 600 cm"−"1. • Measurements agree with radiative transfer model calculations to within their combined uncertainties. • Water vapor abundance is the single largest source of uncertainty in achieving radiative closure. • The Far-IR can be measured more accurately than it can be calculated.