Comparison of atmospheric profiles between microwave radiometer retrievals and radiosonde soundings

Guirong Xu, Baike Xi, Wengang Zhang, Chunguang Cui, Xiquan Dong, Yuanyuan Liu, Guopao Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Atmospheric profiles of temperature (T), vapor density (ρv), and relative humidity (RH) retrieved from ground-based microwave radiometer (MWR) measurements are compared with radiosonde soundings at Wuhan, China. The MWR retrievals were averaged in the ±30 min period centered at sounding times of 00 and 12 UTC. A total of 403 and 760 profiles under clear and cloudy skies were selected. Based on the comparisons, temperature profiles have better consistency than the ρv and RH profiles, lower levels are better than upper levels, and the cloudy are better than the clear-sky profiles. Three cloud types (low, middle, and high) were identified by matching the infrared radiation thermometer-detected cloud base temperature to the MWR-retrieved temperature-height profiles. Temperature profile under high cloud has the highest correlation coefficient (R) and the lowest bias and RMS, but under low cloud is in the opposite direction. The ρv profile under middle cloud has the highest R and the lowest bias but under high cloud has the lowest R, the largest bias, and RMS. Based on the radiosonde soundings, both clear and cloudy wind speeds and drifting distances increase with height but increase much faster under clear than cloudy above 4 km. The increased wind speeds and drifting distances with height have resulted in decreased correlation coefficient and increased temperature biases and RMSs with height for both clear and cloudy skies. The differences in R, bias, and RMS between clear and cloudy skies are primarily resulted from their wind speeds and drifting distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10313-10323
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of geophysical research
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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