Modern infrared satellite sensors such as the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), the Cross-Track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES), the Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer (GIFTS), and the Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) are capable of providing high spatial and spectral resolution infrared spectra. To fully exploit the vast amount of spectral information from these instruments, superfast radiative transfer models are needed. We present a novel radiative transfer model based on principal component analysis. Instead of predicting channel radiance or transmittance spectra directly, the principal component-based radiative transfer model (PCRTM) predicts the principal component (PC) scores of these quantities. This prediction ability leads to significant savings in computational time. The parameterization of the PCRTM model is derived from the properties of PC scores and instrument line-shape functions. The PCRTM is accurate and flexible. Because of its high speed and compressed spectral information format, it has great potential for superfast one-dimensional physical retrieval and for numerical weather prediction large volume radiance data assimilation applications. The model has been successfully developed for the NAST-I and AIRS instruments. The PCRTM model performs monochromatic radiative transfer calculations and is able to include multiple scattering calculations to account for clouds and aerosols.
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