Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 59, Issue 11, pp 1159–1166 | Cite as

Validation of AMSU-A measurements from two different calibrations in the lower stratosphere using COSMIC radio occultation data

  • Wenying HeEmail author
  • Chengzhi Zou
  • Hongbin Chen
Article Atmospheric Science


GPS radio occultation data from the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) mission were used to validate the measurements of the advanced microwave sounding unit-A (AMSU-A) in the lower stratosphere from different satellites. AMSU-A observations from two different calibrations—the pre-launch operational and post-launch simultaneous nadir overpass (SNO) calibrations—were compared to microwave brightness temperatures (Tb) simulated from COSMIC data. Observations from three satellites (NOAA-15, -16, and -18) were used in the comparison. The results showed that AMSU-A Tb measurements from both calibrations and from all three NOAA satellites were underestimated in the lower stratosphere, and that the biases were larger in polar winters, especially over the southern high latitudes. In comparison to operational calibration, the SNO-calibrated AMSU-A data produced much smaller biases relative to the COSMIC data. The improvement due to SNO calibration was quantified by a Ratio index, which measured the bias changes from operational to SNO calibrations relative to the biases between the operational-calibrated AMSU-A data and the COSMIC data. The Ratio values were 70 % for NOAA-15 and >80 % for NOAA-18 and -16, indicating that the SNO calibration method significantly reduced AMSU-A biases and effectively improved AMSU-A data quality.


AMSU COSMIC Validation SNO calibration Brightness temperature 



The first author is thankful for the help of the CDDAC group with the COSMIC data, and also for the invitation to visit Bill Guo and Ben Ho in the COSMIC group. This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2010CB428602 and 2010CB950802).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LAGEO, Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.NOAA/NESDIS/Center for Satellite Applications and ResearchCamp SpringsUSA

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