The GEWEX Water Vapor Assessment archive of water vapour products from satellite observations and reanalyses

Earth Syst Sci Data. 2018;10(2):1093-1117. doi: 10.5194/essd-10-1093-2018. Epub 2018 Jun 15.


The Global Energy and Water cycle Exchanges (GEWEX) Data and Assessments Panel (GDAP) initiated the GEWEX Water Vapor Assessment (G-VAP), which has the main objectives to quantify the current state of art in water vapour products being constructed for climate applications and to support the selection process of suitable water vapour products by GDAP for its production of globally consistent water and energy cycle products. During the construction of the G-VAP data archive, freely available and mature satellite and reanalysis data records with a minimum temporal coverage of 10 years were considered. The archive contains total column water vapour (TCWV) as well as specific humidity and temperature at four pressure levels (1000, 700, 500, 300 hPa) from 22 different data records. All data records were remapped to a regular longitude/latitude grid of 2°x2°. The archive consists of four different folders: 22 TCWV data records covering the period 2003-2008, 11 TCWV data records covering the period 1988-2008, as well as seven specific humidity and seven temperature data records covering the period 1988-2009. The G-VAP data archive is referenced under the following digital object identifier (doi): SAF CM/GVAP/V001. Within G-VAP, the characterisation of water vapour products is, among other ways, achieved through intercomparisons of the considered data records, as a whole and grouped into three classes of predominant retrieval condition: clear-sky, cloudy-sky and all-sky. Associated results are shown using the 22 TCWV data records. The standard deviations among the 22 TCWV data records have been analysed and exhibit distinct maxima over central Africa and the tropical warm pool (in absolute terms) as well as over the poles and mountain regions (in relative terms). The variability in TCWV within each class can be large and prohibits conclusions on systematic differences in TCWV between the classes.