Abstract: The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on EOS/Aqua platform provides a measurement of global methane (CH4) in the mid-upper troposphere since September, 2002. As a thermal infrared sounder, the most sensitivity of AIRS to atmospheric CH4 is in the mid-upper troposphere with the degree of freedom of ~1.0. Validation of AIRS CH4 product versus thousands of aircraft profiles (convolved using the AIRS averaging kernels) demonstrates that its RMS error (RMSE) is mostly less than 1.5%, and its quality is pretty stable from 2003 to 2009. For scientific analysis of the spatial and temporal variation of mid-upper tropospheric CH4 (MUT-CH4) in the High Northern Hemisphere (HNH), it is more valuable to use the AIRS retrieved CH4 in a layer of about 100 hPa below tropopause (“Representative Layer”) than in a fixed pressure layer. Further analysis of deseasonalized time-series of AIRS CH4 in both a fixed pressure layer and the “Representative Layer” of AIRS (only for the HNH) from 2003 to 2009 indicates that, similar to the CH4 in the marine boundary layer (MBL) that was found to increase in 2007–2008, MUT-CH4 was also observed to have a recent increase but the most significant increase occurred in 2008. MUT-CH4 continued to increase in 2009, especially in the HNH. Moreover, the trend of MUT-CH4 from 2006 to 2008 is lower than the trend of CH4 in the MBL by 30–40% in both the southern hemisphere and HNH. This delay for the MUT-CH4 increase of about one year than CH4 in the MBL as well as the smaller increase trend for MUT-CH4 suggest that surface emission is likely a major driver for the recent CH4 increase. It is also found that the seasonal cycle of MUT-CH4 is different from CH4 in the MBL due to the impact of transport, in addition to the surface emission and the photochemical loss.
Keywords: methane; mid-upper troposphere; satellite; AIRS; trend; seasonal cycle
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Xiong, X.; Barnet, C.; Maddy, E.; Wei, J.; Liu, X.; Pagano, T.S. Seven Years’ Observation of Mid-Upper Tropospheric Methane from Atmospheric Infrared Sounder. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 2509-2530.
Xiong X, Barnet C, Maddy E, Wei J, Liu X, Pagano TS. Seven Years’ Observation of Mid-Upper Tropospheric Methane from Atmospheric Infrared Sounder. Remote Sensing. 2010; 2(11):2509-2530.
Xiong, Xiaozhen; Barnet, Chris; Maddy, Eric; Wei, Jennifer; Liu, Xingpin; Pagano, Thomas S. 2010. "Seven Years’ Observation of Mid-Upper Tropospheric Methane from Atmospheric Infrared Sounder." Remote Sens. 2, no. 11: 2509-2530.