AOSC Seminar
December 1, 2016

Overview of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Unique Combined Atmospheric Processing System (NUCAPS) and Microwave Integrated Retrieval System (MiRS)

Flavio Iturbide-Sanchez

This presentation will introduce the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Unique Combined Atmospheric Processing System (NUCAPS) and the Microwave Integrated Retrieval System also known as MiRS. NUCAPS is the official NOAA system retrieving vertical temperature and water vapor profiles from the processing of the Cross‐track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) and the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) radiances. Both state‐of‐the‐art instruments are currently onboard the Suomi National Polar‐orbiting Partnership (S‐NPP) spacecraft, launched on October 28th 2011 as part of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), the U.S. polar‐orbiting operational satellite mission is planned to be the successor to the Polar‐Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES) program. The use of ATMS/CrIS observations enables NUCAPS to retrieve vertical temperature and water vapor profiles from IR and MW observations, under non‐precipitating conditions (clear, partly cloudy and cloudy). This is a key advantage with respect to retrieval algorithms processing solely IR radiances, strongly affected by clouds, and limited to operate under clear‐sky conditions. The NUCAPS‐derived retrieval products are known as Environmental Data Records (EDRs). Apart from the thermodynamic vertical profiles, the suite of NUCAPS EDR products includes retrieved estimates of: (1) cloud fraction and cloud top pressure; (2) surface temperature and surface emissivity; (3) Outgoing Longwave Radiation; and (4) vertical profiles of trace gases (ozone, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, nitric acid and sulfur dioxide).

On the other hand, MiRS is based on one‐dimensional variation scheme (1DVAR) capable of optimally retrieving atmospheric and surface state parameters simultaneously. MiRS has been applied routinely to NOAA‐18, METOP‐A,‐B AMSU/MHS sensors pair and S‐NPP/ATMS. The direct outputs from MiRS include temperature, moisture and several hydrometeors atmospheric profiles, land surface temperature, emissivity. From these core products a set of secondary products are derived. These include: Total Precipitable Water (TPW), vertically integrated Cloud Liquid Water (CLW), Ice Water Path (IWP), Graupel‐size ice Water Path (GWP), Rain Water Path (RWP), Rainfall Rate, Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), and Sea Ice Concentration (SIC).

NUCAPS and MiRS are operational systems that have been applied successfully using different instrumental configurations and envisioned to be implemented in future satellites sensor using new technologies and concepts. Since those systems are being designed to be used consistently (same retrieval algorithm) across different platforms, retrieval products are adequate for climate applications where algorithm consistency is required. Examples of diverse operational and experimental applications of NUCAPS and MiRS products will be presented.