Abstract

A method for retrieving the atmospheric pressure corresponding to the tangent point of an infrared spectrum recorded in the solar occultation mode is described and applied to measurements made by the Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS) Fourier-transform spectrometer. Tangent pressure values are inferred from measurements of isolated CO2 lines with temperature-insensitive strengths by measuring the slant-column CO2 amount and by adjusting the viewing geometry until the calculated column matches the observed column. Tangent pressures are determined with a spectroscopic precision of 1%–3%, corresponding to a tangent-point height precision of 70–210 m. The total uncertainty is limited primarily by the quality of the spectra and ranges between 4% and 6% (280–420 m) for spectra with signal-to-noise ratios of 300:1 and between 4% and 10% for spectra with signal-to-noise ratios of 100:1. The retrieval of atmospheric pressure increases the accuracy of the retrieved-gas concentrations by minimizing the effect of systematic errors introduced by climatological pressure data, ephemeris parameters, and the uncertainties in instrumental pointing.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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