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The Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) instrument series, on board the European Space Agency (ESA)’s European Remote Sensing (ERS) satellites, ERS-1/2 and the ENVIronmental SATellite (ENVISAT), covered the time period from 1991 to 2012. Using the infra-red channels at 11 and 12 microns (available for both day and night and for all the three instruments) and combining nadir and forward geometries, Total Column Water Vapour (TCWV) fields have been obtained over the sea in cloud free scenarios. The retrieval scheme, named Advanced InfraRed Water Vapor Estimator (AIRWAVE), exploits the instrument physical characteristics (dual view and two channels), in combination with advanced radiative transfer models and a sea surface spectral emissivity database. The algorithm makes use of a set of tabulated parameters, fixed along the whole globe.
Here, the AIRWAVE dataset is compared with the satellite data of the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) and with available stations from the Analyzed RadioSoundings Archive (ARSA). Both comparisons demonstrated the good quality of the AIRWAVE dataset. However, they also highlighted the presence of a dry bias at high latitudes. Globally, we found an average correlative-AIRWAVE bias of 0.72 kg/m2 (RMSE=5.79 kg/m2) vs SSM/I and 0.80 kg/m2 (RMSE=7.77 kg/m2) vs ARSA.
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