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The water vapour continuum in near-infrared windows – current understanding and prospects for its inclusion in spectroscopic databases

Shine, K. P., Campargue, A., Mondelain, D., McPheat, R. A., Ptashnik, I. V. and Weidmann, D. (2016) The water vapour continuum in near-infrared windows – current understanding and prospects for its inclusion in spectroscopic databases. Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy, 327. pp. 193-208. ISSN 0022-2852

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.jms.2016.04.011

Abstract/Summary

Spectroscopic catalogues, such as GEISA and HITRAN, do not yet include information on the water vapour continuum that pervades visible, infrared and microwave spectral regions. This is partly because, in some spectral regions, there are rather few laboratory measurements in conditions close to those in the Earth’s atmosphere; hence understanding of the characteristics of the continuum absorption is still emerging. This is particularly so in the near-infrared and visible, where there has been renewed interest and activity in recent years. In this paper we present a critical review focusing on recent laboratory measurements in two near-infrared window regions (centred on 4700 and 6300 cm−1) and include reference to the window centred on 2600 cm−1 where more measurements have been reported. The rather few available measurements, have used Fourier transform spectroscopy (FTS), cavity ring down spectroscopy, optical-feedback – cavity enhanced laser spectroscopy and, in very narrow regions, calorimetric interferometry. These systems have different advantages and disadvantages. Fourier Transform Spectroscopy can measure the continuum across both these and neighbouring windows; by contrast, the cavity laser techniques are limited to fewer wavenumbers, but have a much higher inherent sensitivity. The available results present a diverse view of the characteristics of continuum absorption, with differences in continuum strength exceeding a factor of 10 in the cores of these windows. In individual windows, the temperature dependence of the water vapour self-continuum differs significantly in the few sets of measurements that allow an analysis. The available data also indicate that the temperature dependence differs significantly between different near-infrared windows. These pioneering measurements provide an impetus for further measurements. Improvements and/or extensions in existing techniques would aid progress to a full characterisation of the continuum – as an example, we report pilot measurements of the water vapour self-continuum using a supercontinuum laser source coupled to an FTS. Such improvements, as well as additional measurements and analyses in other laboratories, would enable the inclusion of the water vapour continuum in future spectroscopic databases, and therefore allow for a more reliable forward modelling of the radiative properties of the atmosphere. It would also allow a more confident assessment of different theoretical descriptions of the underlying cause or causes of continuum absorption.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:65569
Publisher:Elsevier

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