Validation of Aeolus L2B products over the tropical Atlantic using radiosondes

Maurus Borne (Corresponding author), Peter Knippertz, Martin Weissmann, Benjamin Witschas, Cyrille Flamant, Rosimar Rios-Berrios, Peter Veals

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Since its launch by the European Space Agency in 2018, the Aeolus satellite has been using the first Doppler wind lidar in space to acquire three-dimensional atmospheric wind profiles around the globe. Especially in the tropics, these observations compensate for the currently limited number of other wind observations, making an assessment of the quality of Aeolus wind products in this region crucial for numerical weather prediction. To evaluate the quality of the Aeolus L2B wind products across the tropical Atlantic Ocean, 20 radiosondes corresponding to Aeolus overpasses were launched from the islands of Sal, Saint Croix, and Puerto Rico during August-September 2021 as part of the Joint Aeolus Tropical Atlantic Campaign. During this period, Aeolus sampled winds within a complex environment with a variety of cloud types in the vicinity of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and aerosol particles from Saharan dust outbreaks. On average, the validation for Aeolus Rayleigh-clear revealed a random error of 3.8-4.3ms-1 between 2 and 16km, and 4.3-4.8ms-1 between 16 and 20km, with a systematic error of -0.5±0.2ms-1. For Mie-cloudy, the random error between 2 and 16km is 1.1-2.3ms-1 and the systematic error is -0.9±0.3ms-1. It is therefore concluded that Rayleigh-clear winds do not meet the mission's random error requirement, while Mie winds most likely do not fulfil the mission bias requirement. Below clouds or within dust layers, the quality of Rayleigh-clear observations are degraded when the useful signal is reduced. In these conditions, we also noticed an underestimation of the L2B estimated error. Gross outliers, defined as large deviations from the radiosonde data, but with low error estimates, account for less than 5% of the data. These outliers appear at all altitudes and under all environmental conditions; however, their root cause remains unknown. Finally, we confirm the presence of an orbital-dependent bias observed with both radiosondes and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model equivalents. The results of this study contribute to a better characterisation of the Aeolus wind product in different atmospheric conditions and provide valuable information for further improvement of the wind retrieval algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-581
Number of pages21
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 105206 Meteorology


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