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  • Author or Editor: Eunsil Jung x
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Eunsil Jung and Bruce Albrecht

Abstract

Circulations in and around cumulus clouds are inferred by using a passive tracer (radar chaff) and an airborne cloud radar during the Barbados Aerosol Cloud Experiment (BACEX). The radar chaff elements used for this experiment are fibers that are cut to a length of about ½ of the radar wavelength to maximize radar returns by serving as dipole antennas. The fibers are packed in fiber tubes and are mounted in a dispenser beneath the wing of the aircraft. The chaff was released near the tops and edges of a growing small cumulus cloud. The aircraft then made penetrations of the cloud at lower levels to observe the chaff signals above the aircraft with the zenith-pointing cloud radar. This study shows that the environmental air above the cloud top descends along the downshear side of the cloud edge and is subsequently entrained back into the same cloud near the observation level. The in-cloud flow follows an inverted letter P pattern. The merits and limitations of the chaff method for tracking circulations in and around small cumuli are discussed.

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Ming Fang, Bruce Albrecht, Eunsil Jung, Pavlos Kollias, Haflidi Jonsson, and Ivan PopStefanija

Abstract

For the first time, the Mie notch retrieval technique is applied to airborne cloud Doppler radar observations in warm precipitating clouds to retrieve the vertical air velocity profile above the aircraft. The retrieval algorithm prescribed here accounts for two major sources of bias: aircraft motion and horizontal wind. The retrieval methodology is evaluated using the aircraft in situ vertical air velocity measurements. The standard deviations of the residuals for the retrieved and in situ measured data for an 18-s time segment are 0.21 and 0.24 m s−1, respectively; the mean difference between the two is 0.01 m s−1. For the studied cases, the total theoretical uncertainty is less than 0.19 m s−1 and the actual retrieval uncertainty is about 0.1 m s−1. These results demonstrate that the Mie notch technique combined with the bias removal procedure described in this paper can successfully retrieve vertical air velocity from airborne radar observations with low spectral broadening due to Doppler fading, which enables new opportunities in cloud and precipitation research. A separate spectral peak due to returns from the cloud droplets is also observed in the same radar Doppler spectra and is also used to retrieve vertical air motion. The vertical air velocities retrieved using the two different methods agree well with each other, and the correlation coefficient is as high as 0.996, which indicates that the spectral peak due to cloud droplets might provide another way to retrieve vertical air velocity in clouds when the Mie notch is not detected but the cloud droplets’ spectral peak is discernable.

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