Multiwavelength Observations of a Developing Cloud System: The FIRE II 26 November 1991 Case Study

J. M. Intrieri NOAA/ERL/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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W. L. Eberhard NOAA/ERL/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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T. Uttal NOAA/ERL/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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J. A. Shaw NOAA/ERL/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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J. B. Snider NOAA/ERL/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Y. Han NOAA/ERL/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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B. W. Orr NOAA/ERL/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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S. Y. Matrosov Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado/NOAA, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Simultaneous multiwavelength measurements of a developing cloud system were obtained by NOAA Doppler lidar, Doppler radar, Fourier transform infrared interferometer, and microwave and infrared radiometers on 26 November 1991. The evolution of the cloud system is described in terms of lidar backscatter, radar reflectivity and velocity, interferometer atmospheric spectra, and radiometer brightness temperature, integrated liquid water, and water vapor paths. Utilizing the difference in wavelength between the radar and lidar, and therefore their independent sensitivity to different regions of the same cloud, the cloud top, base, depth, and multiple layer heights can he determined with better accuracy than with either instrument alone. Combining the radar, lidar, and radiometer measurements using two different techniques allows an estimation of the vertical profile of cloud microphysical properties such as particle sizes. Enhancement of lidar backscatter near zenith revealed when highly oriented ice crystals were present. The authors demonstrate that no single instrument is sufficient to accurately describe cirrus clouds and that measurements in combination can provide important details on their geometric, radiative, and microphysical properties.

Abstract

Simultaneous multiwavelength measurements of a developing cloud system were obtained by NOAA Doppler lidar, Doppler radar, Fourier transform infrared interferometer, and microwave and infrared radiometers on 26 November 1991. The evolution of the cloud system is described in terms of lidar backscatter, radar reflectivity and velocity, interferometer atmospheric spectra, and radiometer brightness temperature, integrated liquid water, and water vapor paths. Utilizing the difference in wavelength between the radar and lidar, and therefore their independent sensitivity to different regions of the same cloud, the cloud top, base, depth, and multiple layer heights can he determined with better accuracy than with either instrument alone. Combining the radar, lidar, and radiometer measurements using two different techniques allows an estimation of the vertical profile of cloud microphysical properties such as particle sizes. Enhancement of lidar backscatter near zenith revealed when highly oriented ice crystals were present. The authors demonstrate that no single instrument is sufficient to accurately describe cirrus clouds and that measurements in combination can provide important details on their geometric, radiative, and microphysical properties.

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