Water vapour is a key greenhouse gas in the Earth climate system. In this golden age of satellite remote sensing, global observations of water vapour fields are made from numerous instruments measuring in the ultraviolet/visible, through the infrared bands, to the microwave regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. While these observations provide a wealth of information on columnar, free-tropospheric and upper troposphere/lower stratosphere water vapour amounts, there is still an observational gap regarding resolved bulk planetary boundary layer (PBL) concentrations. In this study we demonstrate the ability of the Greenhouse Gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) to bridge this gap from highly resolved measurements in the shortwave infrared (SWIR). These new measurements of near surface columnar water vapour are free of topographic artefacts and are interpreted as a proxy for bulk PBL water vapour. Validation (over land surfaces only) of this new data set against global radiosondes show low biases that vary seasonally between −2% to 5%. Analysis on broad latitudinal bands show biases between −3% and 2% moving from high latitudes to the equatorial regions. Finally, with the extension of the GOSAT program out to at least 2027, we discuss the potential for a new GOSAT PBL water vapour Climate Data Record (CDR).
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