Articles | Volume 22, issue 6
14 Jun 2004
 | 14 Jun 2004

Quality assessment of ground-based microwave measurements of chlorine monoxide, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide from the NDSC radiometer at the Plateau de Bure

P. Ricaud, P. Baron, and J. de La Noë

Abstract. A ground-based microwave radiometer dedicated to chlorine monoxide (ClO) measurements around 278GHz has been in operation from December 1993-June 1996 at the Plateau de Bure, France (45° N, 5.9° E, 2500m altitude). It belongs to the international Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Change. A detailed study of both measurements and retrieval schemes has been undertaken. Although dedicated to the measurements of ClO, simultaneous profiles of O3, ClO and NO2, together with information about the instrumental baseline, have been retrieved using the optimal estimation method. The vertical profiles have been compared with other ground-based microwave data, satellite-borne data and model results. Data quality shows: 1) the weak sensitivity of the instrument that obliges to make time averages over several hours; 2) the site location where measurements of good opacities are possible for only a few days per year; 3) the baseline undulation affecting all the spectra, an issue common to all the microwave instruments; 4) the slow drift of some components affecting frequencies by 3-4MHz within a couple of months. Nevertheless, when temporally averaging data over a few days, ClO temporal variations (diurnal and over several weeks in winter 1995) from 35-50km are consistent with model results and satellite data, particularly at the peak altitude around 40km, although temporal coincidences are infrequent in winter 1995. In addition to ClO, it is possible to obtain O3 information from 30-60km whilst the instrument is not optimized at all for this molecule. Retrievals of O3 are reasonable when compared with model and another ground-based data set, although the lowermost layers are affected by the contamination of baseline remnants. Monthly-averaged diurnal variations of NO2 are detected at 40km and appear in agreement with photochemical model results and satellite zonally-averaged data, although the amplitude is weaker than the other data sets. This NO2 result highlights the great potential of the retrieval scheme used.