PyRTlib: an educational Python-based library for non-scattering atmospheric microwave Radiative Transfer computations
Abstract. This article introduces PyRTlib, a new standalone Python package for non-scattering line-by-line microwave Radiative Transfer simulations. PyRTlib is a flexible and user-friendly tool for computing down and up-welling brightness temperatures and related quantities (e.g., atmospheric absorption, optical depth, opacity, mean radiating temperature) written in Python, a language commonly used nowadays for scientific software development especially by students and early career scientists. PyRTlib allows simulating observations from ground-based, airborne, and satellite microwave sensors in clear sky and in cloudy conditions (under non-scattering Rayleigh approximation). The intention for PyRTlib is not to be a competitor for state-of-the-art atmospheric radiative transfer codes that excel for speed and/or versatility (e.g., ARTS, RTTOV). The intention is to provide an educational tool, completely written in Python, to readily simulate atmospheric microwave radiative transfer from a variety of input profiles, including predefined climatologies, global radiosonde archives, and model reanalysis. The paper presents quick examples for the built in modules to access popular open data archives. The paper also presents examples for computing simulated brightness temperature for different platforms (ground-based, airborne, and satellite), using various input profiles, showing how to easily modify other relevant parameters, such as observing angle (zenith, nadir, slant), surface emissivity, and gas absorption model. PyRTlib can be easily embedded in other Python codes needing atmospheric microwave radiative transfer (e.g., surface emissivity models and retrievals). Despite its simplicity, PyRTlib can be readily used to produce present-day scientific results, as demonstrated by two examples showing (i) absorption model comparison and validation with ground-based radiometric observations and (ii) uncertainty propagation of spectroscopic parameters through the radiative transfer calculations following a rigorous approach. To our knowledge, the uncertainty estimate is not provided by any other currently available microwave radiative transfer code, making PyRTlib unique for this aspect in the atmospheric microwave radiative transfer code scenario.
Model code and software
A python package for non-scattering line-by-line microwave Radiative Transfer simulations. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.8219145
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