Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer




This paper describes the contents of the 2016 edition of the HITRAN molecular spectroscopic compilation. The new edition replaces the previous HITRAN edition of 2012 and its updates during the intervening years. The HITRAN molecular absorption compilation is composed of five major components: the traditional line-by-line spectroscopic parameters required for high-resolution radiative-transfer codes, infrared absorption cross-sections for molecules not yet amenable to representation in a line-by-line form, collision-induced absorption data, aerosol indices of refraction, and general tables such as partition sums that apply globally to the data. The new HITRAN is greatly extended in terms of accuracy, spectral coverage, additional absorption phenomena, added line-shape formalisms, and validity. Moreover, molecules, isotopologues, and perturbing gases have been added that address the issues of atmospheres beyond the Earth. Of considerable note, experimental IR cross-sections for almost 300 additional molecules important in different areas of atmospheric science have been added to the database. The compilation can be accessed through Most of the HITRAN data have now been cast into an underlying relational database structure that offers many advantages over the long-standing sequential text-based structure. The new structure empowers the user in many ways. It enables the incorporation of an extended set of fundamental parameters per transition, sophisticated line-shape formalisms, easy user-defined output formats, and very convenient searching, filtering, and plotting of data. A powerful application programming interface making use of structured query language (SQL) features for higher-level applications of HITRAN is also provided.

Original Publication Citation

Gordon, I. E., Rothman, L. S., Hill, C., Kochanov, R. V., Tan, Y., Bernath, P. F., . . . Zak, E. J. (2017). The HITRAN2016 molecular spectroscopic database. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, 1-66. doi:10.1016/j.jqsrt.2017.06.038


0000-0002-1255-396X (Peter Bernath)