Undergraduate Honors Thesis


Boundary Layer Water Vapor Quantification using the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) Public Deposited

  • Accurate quantification of water vapor in the lower troposphere is critical for numerical weather prediction and climate studies. Water vapor is the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere with respect to climate feedback. Water vapor's natural regulation and large variability with space and time makes it difficult to quantify on a global scale. Ground-based in-situ measurements of water vapor are historically accurate, however, lack the global coverage needed to fully understand water vapor's role in the greater climate system. Space-based satellite observations of water vapor in the lower atmosphere have the potential to improve temporal and spatial resolution of water vapor measurements, allowing for a deeper understanding of its role in Earth’s mechanisms of radiative forcing. Here we combine water vapor products from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) using a differencing method to quantify water vapor in the lowermost region of the troposphere; the planetary boundary layer. These calculations are then validated against radiosonde-based mergesonde products sourced from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facilities at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) site. Upon analysis, we see that the validation yielded to have extremely high correlation. Accurate quantification of lower tropospheric water vapor from space is crucial for improving numerical weather prediction and understanding Earth’s mechanisms of heat and energy transfer.

Date Awarded
  • 2020-04-20
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Last Modified
  • 2020-05-11
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