Extending methane profiles from aircraft into the stratosphere for satellite total column validation: A comparative analysis of different data sources

Airborne observations of greenhouse gases are a very useful reference for validation of satellite-based column-averaged dry air mole fraction data. However, since the aircraft data are available only up to about 9–13 km altitude, these profiles do not fully represent the depth of the atmosphere observed by satellites and therefore need to be extended synthetically into the stratosphere. In the near future, observations of CO2 and CH4 made from passenger aircraft are expected to be available through the In-Service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) project. In this study, we analyse three different data sources that are available for the stratospheric extension of aircraft profiles by comparing the error introduced by each of them into the total column and provide recommendations regarding the best approach.

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