This paper investigates the expected capabilities of the new generation of infrared satellite sounders for detecting CO2. A general circulation model is used to simulate realistic CO2 fields and to define the needed accuracy of CO2 observations in order to be useful in constraining surface sources and sinks of CO2, which will be described in more detail in a future paper. Optimal estimation retrieval theory is then used to determine the possible accuracy of the satellite measurements and to define the retrieval characteristics. A discussion of several factors that affect the retrievals is also included. We conclude that tropospheric column retrievals of CO2 are possible with an accuracy of better than 1 ppmv on a monthly mean basis. Several factors, like thin cirrus clouds and radiative transfer modeling errors, will degrade these results if not carefully accounted for. The possibility of extensive time and spatial averaging of the satellite observations will overcome some of these problems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Materials Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry