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The Impact of Ground-Based Glaciogenic Seeding on Orographic Clouds and Precipitation: A Multisensor Case Study

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  • 1 Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
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Abstract

A case study is presented from the 2012 AgI Seeding Cloud Impact Investigation, an experiment conducted over the Sierra Madre in southern Wyoming to study the impact of ground-based glaciogenic seeding on precipitation. In this case, on 21 February, the temperature in the turbulent boundary layer above cloud base in the target region was just below −8°C, the target orographic clouds contained liquid water, and the storm was rather steady during the measurement period, consisting of an untreated period, followed by a treated period. Eight silver iodide (AgI) generators were used, located on the windward mountain slope. This study is unprecedented in its diversity of radar systems, which included the W-band (3 mm) profiling Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR), a pair of Ka-band (1 cm) profiling Micro Rain Radars (MRRs), and an X-band (3 cm) scanning Doppler-on-Wheels (DOW) radar. The WCR was on board a research aircraft flying geographically fixed tracks, the DOW was located on the main mountain pass in the target region, one MRR was at this pass, and the other was upstream of the generators. Composite data from the three radars indicate that near-surface reflectivity was higher during seeding, a change that could not be accounted for by storm intensification upstream of the generators. Data from a Parsivel disdrometer at the pass indicate that the concentration of snow crystals of all sizes was larger during seeding, although this change was somewhat delayed. This study highlights the challenge of an observational study to unambiguously identify a seeding signal, as well as the value of cumulative corroborative evidence from independent sources.

Corresponding author address: Binod Pokharel, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071. E-mail: bpokhare@uwyo.edu

Abstract

A case study is presented from the 2012 AgI Seeding Cloud Impact Investigation, an experiment conducted over the Sierra Madre in southern Wyoming to study the impact of ground-based glaciogenic seeding on precipitation. In this case, on 21 February, the temperature in the turbulent boundary layer above cloud base in the target region was just below −8°C, the target orographic clouds contained liquid water, and the storm was rather steady during the measurement period, consisting of an untreated period, followed by a treated period. Eight silver iodide (AgI) generators were used, located on the windward mountain slope. This study is unprecedented in its diversity of radar systems, which included the W-band (3 mm) profiling Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR), a pair of Ka-band (1 cm) profiling Micro Rain Radars (MRRs), and an X-band (3 cm) scanning Doppler-on-Wheels (DOW) radar. The WCR was on board a research aircraft flying geographically fixed tracks, the DOW was located on the main mountain pass in the target region, one MRR was at this pass, and the other was upstream of the generators. Composite data from the three radars indicate that near-surface reflectivity was higher during seeding, a change that could not be accounted for by storm intensification upstream of the generators. Data from a Parsivel disdrometer at the pass indicate that the concentration of snow crystals of all sizes was larger during seeding, although this change was somewhat delayed. This study highlights the challenge of an observational study to unambiguously identify a seeding signal, as well as the value of cumulative corroborative evidence from independent sources.

Corresponding author address: Binod Pokharel, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071. E-mail: bpokhare@uwyo.edu
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