Current version: v12.1, February 2017
Given an atmospheric profile of temperature, water vapour and, optionally, trace gases, aerosols and hydrometeors, together with surface parameters and a viewing geometry, RTTOV computes the top of atmosphere radiances in each of the channels of the sensor being simulated.
The core of RTTOV is a fast parameterisation of layer optical depths due to gas absorption which is described in the RTTOV v7 Science and Validation Report. More recent versions of the software have extended its capabilities in numerous ways.
In addition, RTTOV also optionally computes the Jacobian matrix which describes the change in radiance for a change in any element of the state vector assuming a linear relationship about a given atmospheric state. For a brief mathematical overview of radiative transfer modelling see this page.
The most recent version of RTTOV is v12.1, released in February 2017.
Some example applications of using RTTOV software are given on the RTTOV applications page.
RTTOV is available to licensed users free of charge. To become a licensed user of RTTOV, please register with the NWP SAF (or login if you have already done so) and add RTTOV to your list of software preferences. Older versions of RTTOV are available to download to maintain compatibility with certain software but are not supported by the NWP SAF.
It is recommended (though not mandatory) to compile RTTOV against the HDF5 library (v1.8.8 or later required). This enables the use of HDF5 format coefficient files (the preferred format for hyperspectral sounders), the land surface emissivity and BRDF atlases, and the RTTOV GUI.
In order to compile the RTTOV GUI or to call RTTOV from Python scripts you must also have f2py (part of NumPy) installed.
The GUI has additional requirements which are given in the GUI user guide.
Documentation and Resources
Instructions for compiling and running the most recent version of RTTOV may be found on the RTTOV v12 homepage. The User Guide also contains comprehensive details of the new features in RTTOV v12 and the changes from RTTOV v11. Further documentation including the RTTOV v12 Science and Validation Report can be found on the RTTOV v12 documentation page.
Resources (coefficients, atlases, etc.) compatible with RTTOV v12 can be accessed from the downloads page.
- RTTOV v11 is still supported by the NWP SAF, but where possible please update to v11.3 and apply any fixes for known bugs before reporting any issues. Coefficients and emissivity/BRDF atlases for RTTOV v11 remain available for download. RTTOV v12 optical depth coefficient files can be converted for use with v11 using an executable which is compiled with RTTOV v12.
- Resources and documentation for RTTOV v10 and earlier can be found on the archived old site.
Visiting Scientist reports
|Atmospheric clear-sky Radiative Transfer|
model intercomparison at mm/submm
|Juan R. Pardo and Peter Rayer||12/12/2016||NWPSAF-MO-VS-056
|Comparison of MFASIS fast RT model and RTTOV-12||Leonhard Scheck||28/06/2016||NWPSAF-MO_VS-054|
|Investigation into the partitioning of cloud signals into IASI reconstructed radiances||Olaf Stiller, Fiona Smith, and |
|MFASIS - a fast radiative transfer method for the visible spectrum||Leonhard Scheck||10/07/2015||NWPSAF-MO-VS-051|
|Microwave Surface Emissivity over sea-ice||Fabrizio Baordo and Alan Geer||02/07/2015||NWPSAF-EC-VS-026|
|The RTTOV UWiremis module: Investigation into the angular dependence of IR surface emissivity||Eva Borbas||13/10/2014||NWPSAF-MO-VS-050|
|Validation of foam coverage derived from wave dissipative energy from a wave model for RTTOV||M. Anguelova, L.-F. Meunier, M. Bettenhausen, P.Janssen and S. English.||10/07/2014||NWPSAF-EC-VS-025|
|The Zeeman effect implementation for SSMIS in ARTS v. RTTOV||Richard Larsson||10/06/2014||NWPSAF-MO-VS-049|
|Improved ocean emissivity modelling for assimilation of microwave imagers using foam coverage derived from a wave model||Louis-François Meunier, Stephen English and Peter Janssen||24/02/2014||NWPSAF-EC-VS-024|
|Cloud information from high spectral resolution IR sounders||Kozo Okamoto, Anthony P. McNally and William Bell||28/09/2012||NWPSAF-EC-VS-022|
|Report on land surface data assimilation activities in Europe and the Americas in the context of NWP SAF objectives||Luis Gustavo Goncalves de Goncalves and Joao Gerd Zell de Mattos||11/04/2012||NWPSAF-EC-VS-021|
|TELSEM 1D-var experiments at the Met Office: final report||Filipe Aires, Sreerekha Thonipparambil, Catherine Prigent and Roger Saunders||21/02/2012||NWPSAF-MO-VS-046|
|Development of the GPU-based RTTOV-7|
IASI and AMSU Radiative Transfer Models
|Bormin Huang, Jarno Mielikainen, Hung-Lung Allen Huang, and Roger Saunders||04/07/2011||NWPSAF-MO-VS-043|
|FASTEM-4 Validation||Quanhua Liu||16/06/2011||NWPSAF-MO-VS-045|
|The RTTOV UWiremis IR land surface emissivity module||Eva E. Borbas and Benjamin C. Ruston||02/06/2010||NWPSAF-MO-VS-042|
|Comparison of CPTEC AIRS L2 intercomparison and validation with Met Office IASI L2 intercomparison and validation||Simone Costa||01/03/2010||NWPSAF-MO-VS-041|
|TELSEM: a Tool to Estimate Land Surface Emissivities at Microwave frequencies||F.Aires, C.Prigent, F.Bernardo, C.Jiménez, R.Saunders and P.Brunel||01/11/2009||NWPSAF-MO-VS-040|
|Investigation of the suitability of the 6S radiative transfer model to extend RTTOV to solar wavelengths||N. Huneeus||13/12/2007||NWPSAF-MO-VS-034|
|Comparison of radiative transfer models for AMSU-B in presence of ice clouds||N. Courcoux, A. Doherty, T. R. Sreerekha||24/05/2007||NWPSAF-MO-VS-020|
|P.F.W. van Delst and R.W. Saunders||29/09/2006||NWPSAF-MO-VS-022|
Quantitative precipitation estimation from satellite data (password protected — NWPSAF members only)
|C.J. Merchant, O. Embury, C.P. Old||03/04/2006||NWPSAF-MO-VS-018|
|RTTOVSCATT model summary & reviewer comments||A. Gasiewski||15/06/2004||NWPSAF-O-VS-014|
|A visible/infrared multiple-scattering model for RTTOV"||James Hocking||20/12/2016||NWPSAF-MO-TR-031|
|Diverse profile datasets from the ECMWF 137-level short-range forecasts"||Reima Eresmaa and Anthony McNally||30/10/2014||NWPSAF-EC-TR-017|
|MACC profile dataset||Reima Eresmaa, Angela Benedetti and Anthony P. McNally||21/02/2012||NWPSAF-EC-TR-015|
|De Angelis, F., Cimini, N., Hocking, J., Martinet, P., Kneifel, S.||RTTOV-gb – adapting the fast radiative transfer model RTTOV for the assimilation of ground-based microwave radiometer observations||Geosci. Model Development doi:10.5194/gmd-9-2721-2016||2016|
|Larsson, R., M. Milz, P. Rayer, R. Saunders, W. Bell, A. Booton, S. A. Buehler, P. Eriksson, and V. John||Modeling the Zeeman effect in high altitude SSMIS channels for numerical weather prediction profiles: comparing a fast model and a line-by-line model||Atmos. Meas. Tech. doi:10.5194/amt-9-841-2016, 2016 , Vol 9, pp 841-857||2016|
|Vidot, J. , A. J. Baran, and P. Brunel||A new ice cloud parametrization for infrared radiative transfer simulation of cloudy radiances: Evaluation and optimisation with IIR observations and ice cloud profile retrieval products||Journal of Geophysical Research. Atmospheresdoi: 10.1002/2015JD023462, Vol 120, pp 6937-6951||2015|
|Vidot, J. and E. Borbas||Land surface VIS/NIR BRDF atlas for RTTOV-11: Model and validation against SEVIRI Land SAF albedo product||Q.J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. Article first published online: 12FEB 2014. DOI: 10.1002/qj.2288||2014|
|Martinet P, Fourrié N, Guidard V, Rabier F, Montmerle T and Brunel P||Towards the use of microphysical variables for the assimilation of cloud-affected infrared radiances||Q. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc.||2012|