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Validation of Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) CO retrievals with aircraft in situ profiles

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Emmons, L. K., Deeter, M. N., Gille, J. C., Edwards, D. P., Attie, J. L., Warner, J., et al. (2004). Validation of Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) CO retrievals with aircraft in situ profiles. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, 109(D3): D03309. doi:10.1029/2003JD004101.

Validation of the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) retrievals of carbon monoxide (CO) has been performed with a varied set of correlative data. These include in situ observations from a regular program of aircraft observations at five sites ranging from the Arctic to the tropical South Pacific Ocean. Additional in situ profiles are available from several short-term research campaigns situated over North and South America, Africa, and the North and South Pacific Oceans. These correlative measurements are a crucial component of the validation of the retrieved CO profiles and columns from MOPITT. The current validation results indicate good quantitative agreement between MOPITT and in situ profiles, with an average bias less than 20 ppbv at all levels. Comparisons with measurements that were timed to sample profiles coincident with MOPITT overpasses show much less variability in the biases than those made by various groups as part of research field experiments. The validation results vary somewhat with location, as well as a change in the bias between the Phase 1 and Phase 2 retrievals ( before and after a change in the instrument configuration due to a cooler failure). During Phase 1, a positive bias is found in the lower troposphere at cleaner locations, such as over the Pacific Ocean, with smaller biases at continental sites. However, the Phase 2 CO retrievals show a negative bias at the Pacific Ocean sites. These validation comparisons provide critical assessments of the retrievals and will be used, in conjunction with ongoing improvements to the retrieval algorithms, to further reduce the retrieval biases in future data versions.