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Vertical Motions in Orographic Cloud Systems over the Payette River Basin. Part I: Recovery of Vertical Motions and Their Uncertainty from Airborne Doppler Radial Velocity Measurements

Troy J. ZarembaaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

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Robert M. RauberaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

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Samuel HaimovaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

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Bart GeertsbDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

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Jeffrey R. FrenchbDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

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Coltin GrasmickbDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

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Kaylee HeimesaDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois

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Sarah A. TessendorfcResearch Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Katja FriedrichdDepartment of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado

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Lulin XuecResearch Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Roy M. RasmussencResearch Applications Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Melvin L. KunkeleDepartment of Resource Planning and Operations, Idaho Power Company, Boise, Idaho

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Derek R. BlestrudeDepartment of Resource Planning and Operations, Idaho Power Company, Boise, Idaho

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Abstract

Vertical motions over the complex terrain of Idaho’s Payette River basin were observed by the Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) during 23 flights of the Wyoming King Air during the Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds: The Idaho Experiment (SNOWIE) field campaign. The WCR measured radial velocity Vr, which includes the reflectivity-weighted terminal velocity of hydrometeors Vt, vertical air velocity w, horizontal wind contributions as a result of aircraft attitude deviations, and aircraft motion. Aircraft motion was removed through standard processing. To retrieve vertical radial velocity W, Vr was corrected using rawinsonde data and aircraft attitude measurements; w was then calculated by subtracting the mean W (W¯) at a given height along a flight leg long enough for W¯ to equal the mean reflectivity-weighted terminal velocity Vt¯ at that height. The accuracy of the w and Vt¯ retrievals were dependent on satisfying assumptions along a given flight leg that the winds at a given altitude above/below the aircraft did not vary, the vertical air motions at a given altitude sum to 0 m s−1, and Vt¯ at a given altitude did not vary. The uncertainty in the w retrieval associated with each assumption is evaluated. Case studies and a projectwide summary show that this methodology can provide estimates of w that closely match gust probe measurements of w at the aircraft level. Flight legs with little variation in equivalent reflectivity factor at a given height and large horizontal echo extent were associated with the least retrieval uncertainty. The greatest uncertainty occurred in regions with isolated convective turrets or at altitudes where split cloud layers were present.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Troy J. Zaremba, tzaremb2@illinois.edu

Abstract

Vertical motions over the complex terrain of Idaho’s Payette River basin were observed by the Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) during 23 flights of the Wyoming King Air during the Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds: The Idaho Experiment (SNOWIE) field campaign. The WCR measured radial velocity Vr, which includes the reflectivity-weighted terminal velocity of hydrometeors Vt, vertical air velocity w, horizontal wind contributions as a result of aircraft attitude deviations, and aircraft motion. Aircraft motion was removed through standard processing. To retrieve vertical radial velocity W, Vr was corrected using rawinsonde data and aircraft attitude measurements; w was then calculated by subtracting the mean W (W¯) at a given height along a flight leg long enough for W¯ to equal the mean reflectivity-weighted terminal velocity Vt¯ at that height. The accuracy of the w and Vt¯ retrievals were dependent on satisfying assumptions along a given flight leg that the winds at a given altitude above/below the aircraft did not vary, the vertical air motions at a given altitude sum to 0 m s−1, and Vt¯ at a given altitude did not vary. The uncertainty in the w retrieval associated with each assumption is evaluated. Case studies and a projectwide summary show that this methodology can provide estimates of w that closely match gust probe measurements of w at the aircraft level. Flight legs with little variation in equivalent reflectivity factor at a given height and large horizontal echo extent were associated with the least retrieval uncertainty. The greatest uncertainty occurred in regions with isolated convective turrets or at altitudes where split cloud layers were present.

© 2022 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Troy J. Zaremba, tzaremb2@illinois.edu
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