Journal of Meteorological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 276–288 | Cite as

An Operational Precipitable Water Vapor Retrieval Algorithm for Fengyun-2F/VLSSR Using a Modified Three-Band Physical Split-Window Method

  • Juyang Hu
  • Shihao TangEmail author
  • Hailei Liu
  • Min Min
Regular Articles


The Visible and Infrared Spin-Scan Radiometer (VISSR) onboard the Fengyun-2 (FY-2) satellite can provide valuable thermal infrared observations to help create a precipitable water vapor (PWV) product with high spatial and temporal resolutions. The current FY-2/VISSR PWV product in operation is produced by using a traditional two-band physical split-window (PSW) method, which produces low quality results under dry atmospheric conditions. Based on the sensitivity characteristics of FY-2F/VISSR water vapor channel and two split-window channels to atmospheric water vapor, this study developed a new, robust operational PWV retrieval algorithm for FY-2F to improve the operational precision of the current PWV product. The algorithm uses a modified three-band PSW method, which adds a scale for the water vapor channel in the improved three-band PSW method. Integrated PWV products from the radiosonde data in 2016 are used here to validate the precision of the PWV retrieved by the modified three-band and traditional two-band PSW methods. The mean bias, root mean square error (RMSE), and correlation coefficient of the PWV retrieved by the modified three-band PSW method are 0.28 mm, 4.53 mm, and 0.969, respectively. The accuracy is much better than the PWV retrieved by the two-band method, whose mean bias, RMSE, and correlation coefficient are 12.67 mm, 29.35 mm, and 0.23. Especially, in mid- or high-latitude regions, the RMSE of the PWV is improved from 10 to 2 mm by changing the inversion in the two-band method to the modified three-band PSW method. Furthermore, the modified three-band PSW results show a better consistency with the radiosonde PWV at any zonal belt and season than the two-band PSW results. This new algorithm could significantly improve the quality of the current FY-2F/VISSR PWV product, especially at sites where the actual PWV are lower than 15 mm.

Key words

physical split-window (PSW) method precipitable water vapor (PWV) FY-2F/VISSR thermal infrared 


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The authors wish to thank the University of Wyoming for providing the radiosonde data. We also thank the anonymous reviewers for thoughtful suggestions and comments.


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Meteorological Society and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Radiometric Calibration and Validation for Environmental Satellites, National Satellite Meteorological CenterChina Meteorological AdministrationBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Atmospheric SoundingChengdu University of Information TechnologyChengduChina

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