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G. E. Klazura, D. R. Cook, R. L. Coulter, R. L. Hart, D. J. Holdridge, B. M. Lesht, J. D. Lucas, T. J. Martin, M. S. Pekour, and M. L. Wesely
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The Arm Program's Water Vapor Intensive Observation Periods

Overview, Initial Accomplishments, and Future Challenges

H. E. Revercomb, D. D. Turner, D. C. Tobin, R. O. Knuteson, W. F. Feltz, J. Barnard, J. Bösenberg, S. Clough, D. Cook, R. Ferrare, J. Goldsmith, S. Gutman, R. Halthore, B. Lesht, J. Liljegren, H. Linné, J. Michalsky, V. Morris, W. Porch, S. Richardson, B. Schmid, M. Splitt, T. Van Hove, E. Westwater, and D. Whiteman

A series of water vapor intensive observation periods (WVIOPs) were conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Oklahoma between 1996 and 2000. The goals of these WVIOPs are to characterize the accuracy of the operational water vapor observations and to develop techniques to improve the accuracy of these measurements.

The initial focus of these experiments was on the lower atmosphere, for which the goal is an absolute accuracy of better than 2% in total column water vapor, corresponding to ~1 W m−2 of infrared radiation at the surface. To complement the operational water vapor instruments during the WVIOPs, additional instrumentation including a scanning Raman lidar, microwave radiometers, chilled-mirror hygrometers, a differential absorption lidar, and ground-based solar radiometers were deployed at the ARM site. The unique datasets from the 1996, 1997, and 1999 experiments have led to many results, including the discovery and characterization of a large (> 25%) sonde-to-sonde variability in the water vapor profiles from Vaisala RS-80H radiosondes that acts like a height-independent calibration factor error. However, the microwave observations provide a stable reference that can be used to remove a large part of the sonde-to-sonde calibration variability. In situ capacitive water vapor sensors demonstrated agreement within 2% of chilled-mirror hygrometers at the surface and on an instrumented tower. Water vapor profiles retrieved from two Raman lidars, which have both been calibrated to the ARM microwave radiometer, showed agreement to within 5% for all altitudes below 8 km during two WVIOPs. The mean agreement of the total precipitable water vapor from different techniques has converged significantly from early analysis that originally showed differences up to 15%. Retrievals of total precipitable water vapor (PWV) from the ARM microwave radiometer are now found to be only 3% moister than PWV derived from new GPS results, and about 2% drier than the mean of radiosonde data after a recently defined sonde dry-bias correction is applied. Raman lidar profiles calibrated using tower-mounted chilled-mirror hygrometers confirm the expected sensitivity of microwave radiometer data to water vapor changes, but it is drier than the microwave radiometer (MWR) by 0.95 mm for all PWV amounts. However, observations from different collocated microwave radiometers have shown larger differences than expected and attempts to resolve the remaining inconsistencies (in both calibration and forward modeling) are continuing.

The paper concludes by outlining the objectives of the recent 2000 WVIOP and the ARM–First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Water Vapor Experiment (AFWEX), the latter of which switched the focus to characterizing upper-tropospheric humidity measurements.

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N. L. Miller, A. W. King, M. A. Miller, E. P. Springer, M. L. Wesely, K. E. Bashford, M. E. Conrad, K. Costigan, P. N. Foster, H. K. Gibbs, J. Jin, J. Klazura, B. M. Lesht, M. V. Machavaram, F. Pan, J. Song, D. Troyan, and R. A. Washington-Allen

A Department of Energy (DOE) multilaboratory Water Cycle Pilot Study (WCPS) investigated components of the local water budget at the Walnut River watershed in Kansas to study the relative importance of various processes and to determine the feasibility of observational water budget closure. An extensive database of local meteorological time series and land surface characteristics was compiled. Numerical simulations of water budget components were generated and, to the extent possible, validated for three nested domains within the Southern Great Plains—the Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Cloud Atmospheric Radiation Testbed (CART), the Walnut River watershed (WRW), and the Whitewater watershed (WW), in Kansas.

A 2-month intensive observation period (IOP) was conducted to gather extensive observations relevant to specific details of the water budget, including finescale precipitation, streamflow, and soil moisture measurements that were not made routinely by other programs. Event and seasonal water isotope (d18O, dD) sampling in rainwater, streams, soils, lakes, and wells provided a means of tracing sources and sinks within and external to the WW, WRW, and the ARM CART domains. The WCPS measured changes in the leaf area index for several vegetation types, deep groundwater variations at two wells, and meteorological variables at a number of sites in the WRW. Additional activities of the WCPS include code development toward a regional climate model that includes water isotope processes, soil moisture transect measurements, and water-level measurements in groundwater wells.

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