Task 3 – Atmospheric temperatures derived from IASI data

Temperature profiles can be obtained from IASI radiances using CO2 absorption bands at 15 µm (645-800 cm-1) and 4.3 µm (2250-2400 cm-1). Weighting functions from atmospheric radiative transfer models provide information regarding which radiance channel is sensitive to which altitudes. 

Assessment of the stability of the radiance record

Since 2007, the processing of IASI data done by the EUropean organisation for the exploitation of METeorological SATellites (EUMETSAT) has improved, but due to IASI’s huge data flow, the whole dataset has not yet been reprocessed backwards. In 2019, EUMETSAT reprocessed IASI radiances with the latest version of the processing algorithm. We compared IASI operational radiances with the reprocessed ones to assess their homogeneity. In brightness temperatures, the differences between the two datasets range from 0.02 K at 700 cm-1 to 0.1 K at 2200 cm-1. Two updates in 2010 and 2013 had the largest impact on the evolution of radiances, see Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1. Evolution of the differences Rreproc – Roper as a function of the Field of Regard (FoR) in the Amazon rainforest (AMA), Western Europe (EUR), the Indian Ocean (OCE) and Greenland (GRO) at 700, 1200, 1700 and 2200 cm-1. The differences are shown as percentage of the reprocessed L1C. Grey pixels correspond to no data with the right FoR. The vertical dashed lines correspond to L1 processing updates. Note that the colorbar limits are different for each wavenumber.

Assessment of the stability of the temperature record

For temperatures, we compared IASI-A and B with ERA5 reanalysis temperatures. We found differences of ~5-10 K at the surface and between 1 and 5 K in the atmosphere (Figure 3.2). These differences decrease abruptly after the release of the IASI L2 processor version 6 in 2014.These results suggest that it is not recommended to use the IASI inhomogeneous temperature products for trend analysis, both for temperature and trace gas trends. Further work is need to develop a stable product for all altitude levels.

Figure 3.2. Differences between IASI-A and ERA5 (in dark colors), and IASI-B and ERA5 (in lighter colors) for surface temperature at the poles, mid latitudes and the equator. Differences in the Northern Hemisphere are plotted in red/orange and differences in the Southern Hemisphere are plotted in blue. The vertical dashed lines correspond to L2 updates. Note that the y-axis limits for each latitude band are different.


Bouillon M., S. Safieddine, J. Hadji-Lazaro, S. Whitburn, L. Clarisse, M. Doutriaux-Boucher, D. Coppens, T. August, E. Jacquette and C. Clerbaux: Ten-year assessment of IASI radiances and temperatures, Remote Sensing, 12(15), 2393; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12152393, 2020.

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