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Assessment of the Performance of the Chilbolton 3-GHz Advanced Meteorological Radar for Cloud-Top-Height Retrieval

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  • a University College London, London, United Kingdom
  • | b CCLRC-Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, United Kingdom
  • | c The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
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Abstract

The Chilbolton 3-GHz Advanced Meteorological Radar (CAMRa), which is mounted on a fully steerable 25-m dish, can provide three-dimensional information on the presence of hydrometeors. The potential for this radar to make useful measurements of low-altitude liquid water cloud structure is investigated. To assess the cloud-height assignment capabilities of the 3-GHz radar, low-level cloud-top heights were retrieved from CAMRa measurements made between May and July 2003 and were compared with cloud-top heights retrieved from a vertically pointing 94-GHz radar that operates alongside CAMRa. The average difference between the 94- and 3-GHz radar-derived cloud-top heights is shown to be −0.1 ± 0.4 km. To assess the capability of 3-GHz radar scans to be used for satellite-derived cloud-top-height validation, multiangle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) cloud-top heights were compared with both 94- and 3-GHz radar retrievals. The average difference between 94-GHz radar and MISR cloud-top heights is shown to be 0.1 ± 0.3 km, while the 3-GHz radar and MISR average cloud-top-height difference is shown to be −0.2 ± 0.6 km. In assessing the value of the CAMRa measurements, the problems associated with low-reflectivity values from stratiform liquid water clouds, ground clutter, and Bragg scattering resulting from turbulent mixing are all addressed. It is shown that, despite the difficulties, the potential exists for CAMRa measurements to contribute significantly to liquid water cloud-top-height retrievals, leading to the production of two-dimensional transects (i.e., maps) of cloud-top height.

Corresponding author address: Catherine Naud, NASA GISS, Room 678, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025. cnaud@giss.nasa.gov

Abstract

The Chilbolton 3-GHz Advanced Meteorological Radar (CAMRa), which is mounted on a fully steerable 25-m dish, can provide three-dimensional information on the presence of hydrometeors. The potential for this radar to make useful measurements of low-altitude liquid water cloud structure is investigated. To assess the cloud-height assignment capabilities of the 3-GHz radar, low-level cloud-top heights were retrieved from CAMRa measurements made between May and July 2003 and were compared with cloud-top heights retrieved from a vertically pointing 94-GHz radar that operates alongside CAMRa. The average difference between the 94- and 3-GHz radar-derived cloud-top heights is shown to be −0.1 ± 0.4 km. To assess the capability of 3-GHz radar scans to be used for satellite-derived cloud-top-height validation, multiangle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) cloud-top heights were compared with both 94- and 3-GHz radar retrievals. The average difference between 94-GHz radar and MISR cloud-top heights is shown to be 0.1 ± 0.3 km, while the 3-GHz radar and MISR average cloud-top-height difference is shown to be −0.2 ± 0.6 km. In assessing the value of the CAMRa measurements, the problems associated with low-reflectivity values from stratiform liquid water clouds, ground clutter, and Bragg scattering resulting from turbulent mixing are all addressed. It is shown that, despite the difficulties, the potential exists for CAMRa measurements to contribute significantly to liquid water cloud-top-height retrievals, leading to the production of two-dimensional transects (i.e., maps) of cloud-top height.

Corresponding author address: Catherine Naud, NASA GISS, Room 678, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10025. cnaud@giss.nasa.gov

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