The stratospheric changes inferred from 10 years of AIRS and AMSU-A radiances

Fang Pan, Xianglei Huang, Stephen S. Leroy, Pu Lin, L. Larrabee Strow, Yi Ming, V. Ramaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Global-mean radiances observed by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) and the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit A (AMSU-A) are analyzed from 2003 to 2012. The focus of this study is on channels sensitive to emission and absorption in the stratosphere. Optimal fingerprinting is used to obtain estimates of changes of stratospheric temperature in five vertical layers due to external forcing in the presence of natural variability. Natural variability is estimated using synthetic radiances based on the 500-yr GFDL CM3 and 240-yr HadGEM2-CC control runs. The results show a cooling rate of 0.65 ± 0.11 (2σ) K decade-1 in the upper stratosphere above 6 hPa, approximately 0.46 ± 0.24 K decade-1 in two midstratospheric layers between 6 and 30 hPa, and 0.39 ± 0.32 K decade-1 in the lower stratosphere (30-60 hPa). The cooling rate in the lowest part of the stratosphere (60-100 hPa) is -0.014 ± 0.22 K decade-1, which is smallest among all five layers and statistically insignificant. The synergistic use of well-calibrated passive infrared and microwave radiances permits disambiguation of trends of carbon dioxide and stratospheric temperature, increases vertical resolution of detected stratospheric temperature trends, and effectively reduces uncertainties of estimated temperature trends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6005-6016
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Climate change
  • Infrared radiation
  • Inverse methods
  • Satellite observations
  • Stratosphere


Dive into the research topics of 'The stratospheric changes inferred from 10 years of AIRS and AMSU-A radiances'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this