Comparison of Spectrally Resolved Outgoing Longwave Radiation over the Tropical Pacific between 1970 and 2003 Using IRIS, IMG, and AIRS

JA Griggs, JE Harries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The observation of changes in the earth’s spectrally resolved outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) provides a direct method of determining changes in the radiative forcing of the climate system. An earlier study showed that satellite-observed changes in the clear-sky outgoing longwave spectrum between 1997 and 1970 from the Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer (IRIS) and Interferometic Monitor of Greenhouse Gases (IMG) instruments could be related to changes in greenhouse gas composition. The authors present a new study that extends this to 2003, through the first use of a new, independent source of global atmospheric infrared spectra, from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) experiment. AIRS is a dispersion grating spectrometer, while the other two were Fourier transform spectrometers, and this is taken into account in the analysis. The observed difference spectrum between the years 2003 and 1970 generally shows the signatures of greenhouse gas forcing, and also shows the sensitivity of the signatures to interannual variations in temperature. The new 2003 data support the conclusions found in the earlier work, though, interestingly, the methane (CH4) Q branch centered at 1304 cm−1 exhibits more complex behavior, showing a decrease in intensity in the difference spectrum between 1997 and 2003. Sensitivity analysis indicates that this is due to changes in temperature structure, superposed on an underlying increase in CH4. Radiative transfer calculations based on reanalysis data are used to simulate the changes in the OLR spectrum; limitations in such data and possible variations that could account for several observed effects are discussed.
Translated title of the contributionComparison of Spectrally Resolved Outgoing Longwave Radiation over the Tropical Pacific between 1970 and 2003 Using IRIS, IMG, and AIRS
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3982 - 4001
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Climate
Volume20 (15)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher: American Meteorological Society

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