Three-channel solar radiometer for the determination of atmospheric columnar water vapor

Kurtis J. Thome, Mark W. Smith, James M. Palmer, John A. Reagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The design of a three-channel solar radiometer used to determine total columnar atmospheric water-vapor amounts is presented. The main channel is located in the 0.94-μm water-vapor band, and two other channels are located in adjacent nonabsorption regions of the solar spectrum and are used to remove scattering effects from the main channel. Water-vapor transmittance is determined by means of a modified Langley approach, and these transmittances are converted to columnar water vapor by means of a band model developed at the University of Arizona. Several cases are presented in which columnar water-vapor amounts are determined through the use of the instrument and method described here. These results are compared with sounding-balloon results. Tests of the method indicate that columnar water vapor may be retrieved with an uncertainty of less than 10%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5811-5819
Number of pages9
JournalApplied optics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Aug 20 1994


  • Atmospheric water vapor
  • Modified Langley method
  • Solar radiometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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