• Development of the optimal estimation method for inversion of stratospheric emission spectra and validation of HNO3 profiles
  • Fiorucci, Irene <1980>


  • GEO/10 Geofisica della terra solida


  • This doctoral thesis focuses on ground-based measurements of stratospheric nitric acid (HNO3)concentrations obtained by means of the Ground-Based Millimeter-wave Spectrometer (GBMS). Pressure broadened HNO3 emission spectra are analyzed using a new inversion algorithm developed as part of this thesis work and the retrieved vertical profiles are extensively compared to satellite-based data. This comparison effort I carried out has a key role in establishing a long-term (1991-2010), global data record of stratospheric HNO3, with an expected impact on studies concerning ozone decline and recovery. The first part of this work is focused on the development of an ad hoc version of the Optimal Estimation Method (Rodgers, 2000) in order to retrieve HNO3 spectra observed by means of GBMS. I also performed a comparison between HNO3 vertical profiles retrieved with the OEM and those obtained with the old iterative Matrix Inversion method. Results show no significant differences in retrieved profiles and error estimates, with the OEM providing however additional information needed to better characterize the retrievals. A final section of this first part of the work is dedicated to a brief review on the application of the OEM to other trace gases observed by GBMS, namely O3 and N2O. The second part of this study deals with the validation of HNO3 profiles obtained with the new inversion method. The first step has been the validation of GBMS measurements of tropospheric opacity, which is a necessary tool in the calibration of any GBMS spectra. This was achieved by means of comparisons among correlative measurements of water vapor column content (or Precipitable Water Vapor, PWV) since, in the spectral region observed by GBMS, the tropospheric opacity is almost entirely due to water vapor absorption. In particular, I compared GBMS PWV measurements collected during the primary field campaign of the ECOWAR project (Bhawar et al., 2008) with simultaneous PWV observations obtained with Vaisala RS92k radiosondes, a Raman lidar, and an IR Fourier transform spectrometer. I found that GBMS PWV measurements are in good agreement with the other three data sets exhibiting a mean difference between observations of ~9%. After this initial validation, GBMS HNO3 retrievals have been compared to two sets of satellite data produced by the two NASA/JPL Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) experiments (aboard the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) from 1991 to 1999, and on the Earth Observing System (EOS) Aura mission from 2004 to date). This part of my thesis is inserted in GOZCARDS (Global Ozone Chemistry and Related Trace gas Data Records for the Stratosphere), a multi-year project, aimed at developing a long-term data record of stratospheric constituents relevant to the issues of ozone decline and expected recovery. This data record will be based mainly on satellite-derived measurements but ground-based observations will be pivotal for assessing offsets between satellite data sets. Since the GBMS has been operated for more than 15 years, its nitric acid data record offers a unique opportunity for cross-calibrating HNO3 measurements from the two MLS experiments. I compare GBMS HNO3 measurements obtained from the Italian Alpine station of Testa Grigia (45.9° N, 7.7° E, elev. 3500 m), during the period February 2004 - March 2007, and from Thule Air Base, Greenland (76.5°N 68.8°W), during polar winter 2008/09, and Aura MLS observations. A similar intercomparison is made between UARS MLS HNO3 measurements with those carried out from the GBMS at South Pole, Antarctica (90°S), during the most part of 1993 and 1995. I assess systematic differences between GBMS and both UARS and Aura HNO3 data sets at seven potential temperature levels. Results show that, except for measurements carried out at Thule, ground based and satellite data sets are consistent within the errors, at all potential temperature levels.


  • 2010-05-27


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Fiorucci, Irene (2010) Development of the optimal estimation method for inversion of stratospheric emission spectra and validation of HNO3 profiles, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Geofisica , 22 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2933.