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Katrina S. Virts
,
Timothy J. Lang
,
Dennis E. Buechler
, and
Phillip M. Bitzer

Abstract

Identical Lightning Imaging Sensors (LIS) aboard the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (TRMM LIS, 1998–2015) and International Space Station (ISS LIS, 2017–23) have provided over two decades of lightning observations over the global tropics, with ISS LIS extending coverage into the midlatitudes. Quantifying the detection performance of both LIS sensors is a necessary step toward generating a combined LIS climatological record and accurately combining LIS data with lightning detections from other sensors and networks. We compare lightning observations from both LIS sensors with reference sources including the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) and ground-based Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN), Earth Networks Global Lightning Network (ENGLN), National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN), and Global Lightning Dataset (GLD360). Instead of a relative detection efficiency (DE) approach that assumes the perfect performance of the reference sensor, we employ a Bayesian approach to estimate the upper limit of the absolute DE (ADE) of each system being analyzed. The results of this analysis illustrate the geographical pattern of ADE as well as its diurnal cycle and yearly evolution. Reference network ADE increased by ∼15%–30% during the TRMM era, leading to a decline in TRMM LIS ADE. ISS LIS flash ADE has been relatively consistent at 61%–65%, about 4%–5% lower than TRMM LIS at the end of its lifetime.

Open access
Elizabeth M. Berg
,
Louis J. Urtecho
,
Siddharth Krishnamoorthy
,
Elizabeth A. Silber
,
Andrew Sparks
, and
Daniel C. Bowman

Abstract

Heating of the surficial layer of the atmosphere often generates convective vortices, known as “dust devils” when they entrain visible debris. Convective vortices are common on both Earth and Mars, where they affect the climate via dust loading, contribute to wind erosion, impact the efficiency of photovoltaic systems, and potentially result in injury and property damage. However, long-duration terrestrial convective vortex activity records are rare. We have developed a high-precision and high-recall method to extract convective vortex signatures from infrasound microbarometer data streams. The techniques utilizes a wavelet-based detector to capture potential events and then a template matching system to extract the duration of the vortex. Since permanent and temporary infrasound sensors networks are present throughout the globe (many with open data), our method unlocks a vast new convective vortex dataset without requiring the deployment of specialized instrumentation.

Significance Statement

Convective vortices, or “dust devils,” contribute to regional dust loading in Earth’s atmosphere. However, long-duration convective vortex activity records are rare. We came up with a way to autonomously detect the pressure signatures left by convective vortices striking low-frequency sound, or “infrasound,” sensors. Since permanent infrasound stations have been active for decades, our method has the potential to add orders-of-magnitude more events than previously catalogued.

Open access
Scott D. Miller
,
Marc Emond
,
Doug Vandemark
,
Shawn Shellito
,
Jason Covert
,
Ivan Bogoev
, and
Edward Swiatek

Abstract

Eddy covariance (EC) air–sea CO2 flux measurements have been developed for large research vessels, but have yet to be demonstrated for smaller platforms. Our goal was to design and build a complete EC CO2 flux package suitable for unattended operation on a buoy. Published state-of-the-art techniques that have proven effective on research vessels, such as airstream drying and liquid water rejection, were adapted for a 2-m discus buoy with limited power. Fast-response atmospheric CO2 concentration was measured using both an off-the-shelf (“stock”) gas analyzer (EC155, Campbell Scientific, Inc.) and a prototype gas analyzer (“proto”) with reduced motion-induced error that was designed and built in collaboration with an instrument manufacturer. The system was tested on the University of New Hampshire (UNH) air–sea interaction buoy for 18 days in the Gulf of Maine in October 2020. The data demonstrate the overall robustness of the system. Empirical postprocessing techniques previously used on ship-based measurements to address motion sensitivity of CO2 analyzers were generally not effective for the stock sensor. The proto analyzer markedly outperformed the stock unit and did not require ad hoc motion corrections, yet revealed some remaining artifacts to be addressed in future designs. Additional system refinements to further reduce power demands and increase unattended deployment duration are described.

Open access
Erica L. McGrath-Spangler
,
N. C. Privé
,
Bryan M. Karpowicz
,
Isaac Moradi
, and
Andrew K. Heidinger

Abstract

The Geostationary Extended Observations (GeoXO) program plans to include a hyperspectral infrared (IR) sounder on its central satellite, expected to launch in the mid-2030s. As part of the follow-on to the GOES program, the NOAA/NASA GeoXO Sounder (GXS) instrument will join several international counterparts in a geostationary orbit. In preparation, the NASA Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) assessed the potential effectiveness of GXS both as a single GEO IR sounder and as part of a global ring that includes international partners. Using a global observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) framework, GXS was assessed from a numerical weather prediction (NWP) perspective. Evaluation of the ability of GXS, both alone and as part of a global ring of GEO sounders, to improve weather prediction of thermodynamic variables was performed globally and regionally. GXS dominated regional analysis and forecast improvements and contributed significantly to global increases in forecast skill relative to a Control. However, more sustained global improvements, on the order of 4 days, relied on international partnerships. Additionally, GXS showed the capability to improve hurricane forecast track errors on the time scales necessary for evacuation warnings. The FSOI metric over CONUS showed that the GXS observations provided the largest radiance impact on the moist energy error norm reduction. The high-temporal-resolution atmospheric profile information over much of the Western Hemisphere from GXS provides an opportunity to improve the representation of weather systems and their forecasts.

Significance Statement

NOAA and NASA are currently planning the GeoXO mission as a follow-on to the GOES program. As part of this process, NASA’s Global Modeling and Assimilation Office has performed several experiments using an observing system simulation experiment (OSSE) framework to assess the potential impact of the GeoXO Sounder (GXS) on numerical weather prediction within the context of international partners launching similar instruments. As part of this assessment, it was found that assimilation of GXS data has the ability to improve both the model analyzed weather and forecasts of the weather, specifically over the domain that GXS observes. Global improvements relied more heavily on a solution consisting of multiple instruments to form a global ring.

Open access
Vasileios Savvakis
,
Martin Schön
,
Matteo Bramati
,
Jens Bange
, and
Andreas Platis

Abstract

The negative effects of relative humidity to measurements of particulate matter (PM) due to hygroscopic growth are often not inherently handled by low-cost optical particle counters (OPCs). This study presents a new approach in constructing a miniaturized diffusion dryer, for use with an OPC mounted on an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS), namely, the DJI S900 (weight of 7.5 kg and flight endurance of 20 min) for short-term measurements under humid conditions. In this work, an OPC of type N3 (Alphasense) was employed alongside the dryer, with experiments both in the laboratory and outdoors. Evaluation of the dryer’s performance in a fog tank showed effective drying from almost saturated air to 41% relative humidity for 35 min, which is longer than the endurance of the UAS, and therefore sufficient. Changes in the flow rate through the OPC-N3 with the dryer showed a 17% reduction compared to an absent dryer, but the measured PM values remained unaffected. Airborne measurements were taken from four hovering flights near a governmental air pollution station (Mannheim-Nord, Germany) under humid conditions (88%–93%) where the system gave agreeable concentrations when the dryer was in place, but significantly overestimated all PM types without it. At a rural area near the Boundary Layer Field Site Falkenberg (Lindenberg, Germany), operated by the German Meteorological Service (DWD), vertical profiles inside a low-altitude cloud showed sharp increase in concentrations when the UAS entered the cloud layer, demonstrating its capability to accurately detect the layer base.

Open access
Marcin Paszkuta
,
Maciej Markowski
, and
Adam Krężel

Abstract

Empirical verification of the reliability of estimating the amount of solar radiation entering the sea surface is a challenging topic due to the quantity and quality of data. The collected measurements of total and diffuse radiation from the Multifilter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MRF-7) commercial device over the Baltic Sea were compared with the satellite results of using modeling data. The obtained results, also divided into individual spectral bands, were analyzed for usefulness in satellite cloud and aerosol detection. The article presents a new approach to assessing radiation and cloud cover based on the use of models supported by satellite data. Measurement uncertainties were estimated for the obtained results. To reduce uncertainty, the results were averaged to the time constant of the device, day, and month. The effectiveness of the method was determined by comparison against the SM Hel measurement point. The empirical results obtained confirm the effectiveness of using satellite methods for estimating radiation along with cloud-cover detection over the sea with the adopted uncertainty values.

Significance Statement

The difference in the amount of solar energy reaching the sea surface between cloudless and cloudy areas reaches tens of percent. Empirical results confirm the effectiveness of using satellite methods to estimate solar radiation along with cloud-cover detection. Over the sea in comparison to land, the amount of empirical data is limited. This research uses new empirical results of radiation to determine the accuracy of satellite estimation results. Experimental results show that the proposed method is effective and adequately parameterizes the detection of satellite image features.

Open access
Joseph S. Schlosser
,
Ryan Bennett
,
Brian Cairns
,
Gao Chen
,
Brian L. Collister
,
Johnathan W. Hair
,
Michael Jones
,
Michael A. Shook
,
Armin Sorooshian
,
Kenneth L. Thornhill
,
Luke D. Ziemba
, and
Snorre Stamnes

Abstract

Suborbital (e.g., airborne) campaigns that carry advanced remote sensing and in situ payloads provide detailed observations of atmospheric processes, but can be challenging to use when it is necessary to geographically collocate data from multiple platforms that make repeated observations of a given geographic location at different altitudes. This study reports on a data collocation algorithm that maximizes the volume of collocated data from two coordinated suborbital platforms and demonstrates its value using data from the NASA Aerosol Cloud Meteorology Interactions Over the western Atlantic Experiment (ACTIVATE) suborbital mission. A robust data collocation algorithm is critical for the success of the ACTIVATE mission goal to develop new and improved remote sensing algorithms, and quantify their performance. We demonstrate the value of these collocated data to quantify the performance of a recently developed vertically resolved lidar + polarimeter–derived aerosol particle number concentration (Na ) product, resulting in a range-normalized mean absolute deviation (NMAD) of 9% compared to in situ measurements. We also show that this collocation algorithm increases the volume of collocated ACTIVATE data by 21% compared to using only nearest-neighbor finding algorithms alone. Additional to the benefits demonstrated within this study, the data files and routines produced by this algorithm have solved both the critical collocation and the collocation application steps for researchers who require collocated data for their own studies. This freely available and open-source collocation algorithm can be applied to future suborbital campaigns that, like ACTIVATE, use multiple platforms to conduct coordinated observations, e.g., a remote sensing aircraft together with in situ data collected from suborbital platforms.

Significance Statement

This study describes a data collocation (i.e., selection) process that aims to maximize the volume of data identified to be simultaneously collected in time and space from two coordinated measurement platforms. The functional utility of the resultant dataset is also demonstrated by extending the validation of aerosol particle number concentration derived from standard lidar and polarimeter data products from a suborbital mission that used two aircraft platforms.

Open access
Gijs de Boer
,
Brian J. Butterworth
,
Jack S. Elston
,
Adam Houston
,
Elizabeth Pillar-Little
,
Brian Argrow
,
Tyler M. Bell
,
Phillip Chilson
,
Christopher Choate
,
Brian R. Greene
,
Ashraful Islam
,
Ryan Martz
,
Michael Rhodes
,
Daniel Rico
,
Maciej Stachura
,
Francesca M. Lappin
,
Antonio R. Segales
,
Seabrooke Whyte
, and
Matthew Wilson

Abstract

Small uncrewed aircraft systems (sUAS) are regularly being used to conduct atmospheric research and are starting to be used as a data source for informing weather models through data assimilation. However, only a limited number of studies have been conducted to evaluate the performance of these systems and assess their ability to replicate measurements from more traditional sensors such as radiosondes and towers. In the current work, we use data collected in central Oklahoma over a 2-week period to offer insight into the performance of five different sUAS platforms and associated sensors in measuring key weather data. This includes data from three rotary-wing and two fixed-wing sUAS and included two commercially available systems and three university-developed research systems. Flight data were compared to regular radiosondes launched at the flight location, tower observations, and intercompared with data from other sUAS platforms. All platforms were shown to measure atmospheric state with reasonable accuracy, though there were some consistent biases detected for individual platforms. This information can be used to inform future studies using these platforms and is currently being used to provide estimated error covariances as required in support of assimilation of sUAS data into weather forecasting systems.

Open access
Mircea Grecu
and
John E. Yorks

Abstract

In this study, we investigate the synergy of elastic backscatter lidar, Ku-band radar, and submillimeter-wave radiometer measurements in the retrieval of ice from satellite observations. The synergy is analyzed through the generation of a large dataset of ice water content (IWC) profiles and simulated lidar, radar and radiometer observations. The characteristics of the instruments (frequencies, sensitivities, etc.) are set based on the expected characteristics of instruments of the Atmosphere Observing System (AOS) mission. A hold-out validation methodology is used to assess the accuracy of the IWC profiles retrieved from various combinations of observations from the three instruments. Specifically, the IWC and associated observations are randomly divided into two datasets, one for training and the other for evaluation. The training dataset is used to train the retrieval algorithm, while the evaluation dataset is used to assess the retrieval performance. The dataset of IWC profiles is derived from CloudSat reflectivity and CALIOP lidar observations. The retrieval of the ice water content IWC profiles from the computed observations is achieved in two steps. In the first step, a class, of 18 potential classes characterized by different vertical distribution of IWC, is estimated from the observations. The 18 classes are predetermined based on the k-means clustering algorithm. In the second step, the IWC profile is estimated using an ensemble Kalman smoother algorithm that uses the estimated class as a priori information. The results of the study show that the synergy of lidar, radar, and radiometer observations is significant in the retrieval of the IWC profiles. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that this synergy was found under idealized conditions, and additional work might be required to materialize it in practice. The inclusion of the lidar backscatter observations in the retrieval process has a larger impact on the retrieval performance than the inclusion of the radar observations. As ice clouds have a significant impact on atmospheric radiative processes, this work is relevant to ongoing efforts to reduce uncertainties in climate analyses and projections.

Open access
Sergey Sokolovskiy
,
Zhen Zeng
,
Douglas C. Hunt
,
Jan-Peter Weiss
,
John J. Braun
,
William S. Schreiner
,
Richard A. Anthes
,
Ying-Hwa Kuo
,
Hailing Zhang
,
Donald H. Lenschow
, and
Teresa Vanhove

Abstract

Superrefraction at the top of the atmospheric boundary layer introduces problems for assimilation of radio occultation data in weather models. A method of detection of superrefraction by spectral analysis of deep radio occultation signals introduced earlier has been tested using 2 years of COSMIC-2/FORMOSAT-7 radio occultation data. Our analysis shows a significant dependence of the probability of detection of superrefraction on the signal-to-noise ratio, which results in a certain sampling nonuniformity. Despite this nonuniformity, the results are consistent with the known global distribution of superrefraction (mainly over the subtropical oceans) and show some additional features and seasonal variations. Comparisons to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts analyses and limited set of radiosondes show reasonable agreement. Being an independent measurement, detection of superrefraction from deep radio occultation signals is complementary to its prediction by atmospheric models and thus should be useful for assimilation of radio occultation data in the atmospheric boundary layer.

Open access