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B. Boba Stankov

Abstract

A near-real-time integrated temperature and water vapor sounding system has been designed and in operation since June 1993. It combines hourly data from the ground-based radio acoustic sounding system (RASS), a two-channel microwave radiometer, standard surface meteorological instruments, a lidar ceilometer, and the Aerodynamic Research Incorporated Communication, Addressing and Reporting System aboard commercial airlines with space-based data from the TIROS-N Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS). The physical retrieval algorithm provided by the International TOVS Processing Package is used for combining the ground- and space-based temperature and humidity profiles. The first-guess profiles of temperature and humidity required by the physical retrieval algorithm arc obtained by using a statistical inversion technique and the ground-based remote sensors measurements.

Statistical error estimates are presented for the hourly. near-real-time, ground-, and space-based retrieved temperature and humidity profiles based on 119 soundings collected during a two-month-long experiment conducted at Platteville, Colorado, during February and March 1994. Radiosonde data collected by the Environmental Technology Laboratory and the Winter Icing and Storms Program in Platteville and the National Weather Service in Denver, Colorado, are used for comparison. The comparison showed excellent agreement between retrieved and radiosonde soundings. Retrieved temperature profiles show better performance than the retrieved humidity profiles because of the high vertical resolution of the RASS measurements. It is suggested that adding more information from the new individual remote sensors as they develop, through the technique used here, would lead to further profiling improvements.

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B. Boba Stankov

A new method, Multisensor Retrieval of Atmospheric Properties (MRAP), is presented for deriving vertical profiles of atmospheric parameters throughout the troposphere. MRAP integrates measurements from multiple, diverse, remote sensing, and in situ instruments, the combination of which provides better capabilities than any instrument alone. Since remote sensors can deliver measurements automatically and continuously with high time resolution, MRAP provides better coverage than traditional rawinsondes. MRAP's design is flexible, being capable of incorporating measurements from different instruments in order to take advantage of new or developing advanced sensor technology. Furthermore, new or alternative atmospheric parameters for a variety of applications may be easily added as products of MRAP.

A combination of passive radiometric, active radar, and in situ observations provide the best temperature and humidity profile measurements. Therefore, MRAP starts with a traditional, radiometer-based, physical retrieval algorithm provided by the International TOVS (TIROS-N Operational Vertical Sounder) Processing Package (ITPP) that constrains the retrieved profiles to agree with brightness temperature measurements. The first-guess profiles required by the ITPP's iterative retrieval algorithm are obtained by using a statistical inversion technique and ground-based remote sensing measurements. Because the individual ground-based remote sensing measurements are usually of sufficiently high quality, the first-guess profiles by themselves provide a satisfactory solution to establish the atmospheric water vapor and temperature state, and the TOVS data are included to provide profiles with better accuracy at higher levels, MRAP provides a physically consistent mechanism for combining the ground- and space-based humidity and temperature profiles.

Data that have been used successfully to retrieve humidity and temperature profiles with MRAP are the following: temperature profiles in the lower troposphere from the ground-based Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS); total water vapor measurements from the Global Positioning System; specific humidity gradient profiles from the wind-profiling radar/RASS system; surface meteorological observations from standard instruments; cloud-base heights from a lidar ceilometer; temperature from the Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated Communication, Addressing and Reporting System aboard commercial airlines; and brightness temperature observations from TOVS.

Data from the experiment conducted in the late summer of 1995 at Point Loma, California, were used for comparisons of MRAP results and 20 nearby rawinsonde releases to assess the statistical error estimates of MRAP. The temperature profiles had a bias of −0.27°C and a standard deviation of 1.56°C for the entire troposphere. Dewpoint profile retrievals did not have an overall accuracy as high as that of the temperature profiles but they exhibited a markedly improved standard deviation and bias in the lower atmosphere when the wind profiler/RASS specific humidity gradient information was available as a further constraint on the process. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model profiles of humidity and temperature for the grid point nearest to the Point Loma site were also used for comparison with the rawinsonde soundings to establish the usefulness of MRAP profiles to the weather forecasting community. The comparison showed that the vertical resolution of the ECMWF model profiles within the planetary boundary layer is not capable of detecting sharp gradients.

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Donald H. Lenschow and B. Boba Stankov

Abstract

We calculated integral scales for horizontal and vertical velocity components, temperature, humidity and ozone concentration, as well as for their variances and covariances from aircraft measurements in the convective atmospheric boundary layer over both ocean and land surfaces. We found that the integral scales of the second-order moment quantities are 0.67± 0.09 that of the variables themselves. Consequently, only the second-order moment integral scales are presented here. These results are used to calculate the averaging lengths necessary to measure second-order moment quantities to a given accuracy. We found that a measurement length of 10 to 100 times the boundary-layer height is required to measure variances to 10% accuracy, while scalar fluxes require a measurement length of 102 to 104 and stress a measurement length of 103 to 105 times the boundary layer height. We also show that the ratio of the wavelength of the spectral peak to the integral scale can be used to estimate the sharpness of the spectral peak.

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Marcia K. Politovich, B. Boba Stankov, and Brooks E. Martner

Abstract

Methods by which attitude ranges of supercooled cloud liquid water in the atmosphere may be estimated are explored using measurements from a combination of ground-based remote sensors. The tests were conducted as part of the Winter Icing and Storms Project that took place in eastern Colorado during the winters of 1990, 1991, and 1993. The basic method augments microwave radiometer measurements of path-integrated liquid water with observations from additional remote sensors to establish height limits for the supercooled liquid. One variation uses a simple adiabatic parcel lifting model initiated at a cloud-base height determined from a ecilometer, temperature and pressure from a radio acoustic sounding system or rawinsonde, and combines these with the radiometers total liquid measurement to obtain an estimate of the liquid cloud-top height. Since it does not account for liquid loss by entrainment or ice-liquid interaction processes this method tends to underestimate the true liquid cloud top; for two cases examined in detail, 54% of icing pilot reports in the area were from above this estimated height. Some error is introduced due to differences in sampling locations and from horizontal variability in liquid water content. Vertical cloud boundaries from a Ka-band radar were also used in the study; these often indicated thicker clouds than the liquid-layer depths observed from research aircraft, possibly due to the ambiguity of the ice-liquid phase distinction.

Comparisons of liquid vertical profiles are presented, using normalized profile shapes based an uniform, adiabatic, and aircraft-derived composite assumptions. The adiabatic and climatological profile shapes generally agreed well with measurements from a research aircraft and were more realistic than the uniform profile. Suggestions for applications of these results toward a red-time aviation hazard identification system are presented.

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Earl E. Gossard, Daniel E. Wolfe, and B. Boba Stankov

Abstract

Bragg backscatter of radar waves from elevated turbulent layers is very highly correlated with the height profile of the gradient of radio refractive index through elevated turbulent layers, as has often been documented in past research. However, many users need profiles of radio refractive index or the associated humidity rather than profiles of their gradients. Simple integration of the gradients is usually not feasible because clutter and various noise sources often severely contaminate the lower-range gates. The authors show that if the total integrated humidity is independently available [for example, from the Global Positioning System (GPS)] and if the surface value of humidity is known, the profiles of humidity are retrievable with good accuracy. This method is demonstrated with data collected in Southern California, where 7 h of 449-MHz data were recorded along with GPS data. Three radiosonde balloons were launched during that period, and the profiles of humidity from the two sources are compared. Simulations are used to assess errors that result from factors such as lack of the sign of the humidity gradients. In conclusion, a humidity profile found by statistical retrieval is compared with one found by the technique proposed in this paper.

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Maia S. Tatarskaia, Richard J. Lataitis, B. Boba Stankov, and Viatcheslav V. Tatarskii

Abstract

A numerical technique is described for synthesizing realistic atmospheric temperature and humidity profiles. The method uses an ensemble of radiosonde measurements collected at a site of interest. Erroneous profiles are removed by comparing their likelihood with prevailing meteorological conditions. The remaining profiles are decomposed using the method of empirical orthogonal functions. The corresponding eigenprofiles and the statistics of the expansion coefficients are used to numerically generate synthetic profiles that obey the same statistics (i.e., have the same mean, variability, and vertical correlation) as the initial dataset. The technique was applied to a set of approximately 1000 temperature and humidity soundings made in Denver, Colorado, during the winter months of 1991–95. This dataset was divided into four cloud classification categories and daytime and nighttime launches to better characterize typical profiles for the eight cases considered. It was found that 97% of the variance in the soundings could be accounted for by using only five eigenprofiles in the reconstructions. Ensembles of numerically generated profiles can be used to test the accuracy of various retrieval algorithms under controlled conditions not usually available in practice.

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Bo-Cai Gao, Alexander F. H. Goetz, Ed R. Westwater, B. Boba Stankov, and D. Birkenheuer

Abstract

Remote soundings of precipitable water vapor from three systems are compared with each other and with ground truth from radiosondes. Ancillary data from a mesoscale network of surface observing stations and from wind-profiling radars are also used in the analysis. The three remote-sounding techniques are: (a) a reflectance technique using spectral data collected by the Airborne Visible-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS); (b) an emission technique using Visible-Infrared Spin Scan Radiometer (VISSR) Atmospheric Sounder (VAS) data acquired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES); and (c) a microwave technique using data from a limited network of three ground-based dual-channel microwave radiometers. The data were taken over the Front Range of eastern Colorado on 22–23 March 1990. The generally small differences between the three types of rernote-sounding measurements are consistent with the horizontal and temporal resolutions of the instruments. The microwave and optical reflectance measurements agreed to within 0. 1 cm; comparisons of the microwave data with radiosondes were also either that good or explainable. The largest differences between the VAS and the microwave radiometer at Elbert were between 0.4 and 0.5 cm and appear to he due to variable terrain within the satellite footprint.

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Paul J. Neiman, M. A. Shapiro, R. Michael Hardesty, B. Boba Stankov, Rhidian T. Lawrence, Robert J. Zamora, and Tamara Hampel

Abstract

The NOAA/WPL pulsed coherent Doppler lidar was used during the Texas Frontal Experiment in 1985 to study mesoscale preconvective atmospheric conditions. On 22 April 1985, the Doppler lidar, in conjunction with serial rawinsonde ascents and National Weather Service rawinsonde ascents, observed atmospheric features such as middle-tropospheric frontal and vertical wind shear layers and the planetary boundary layer. The lidar showed unique evidence of the downward transport of strong winds from an elevated vertical speed shear (frontal) layer into the planetary boundary layer. The lidar provided further evidence of atmospheric processes such as clear-air turbulence within frontal layers, and dry convection turbulence within the superadiabatic planetary boundary layer. As a result, high-technology remote sensing instruments such as the Doppler lidar show considerable promise for future studies of small-scale weather systems in a nonprecipitating atmosphere.

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Edgeworth R. Westwater, B. Boba Stankov, Domenico Cimini, Yong Han, Joseph A. Shaw, Barry M. Lesht, and Carles N. Long

Abstract

During June–July 1999, the NOAA R/V Ron H. Brown (RHB) sailed from Australia to the Republic of Nauru where the Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program operates a long-term climate observing station. During July, when the RHB was in close proximity to the island of Nauru, detailed comparisons of ship- and island-based instruments were possible. Essentially identical instruments were operated from the ship and the island's Atmospheric Radiation and Cloud Station (ARCS)-2. These instruments included simultaneously launched Vaisala RS80-H radiosondes, the Environmental Technology Laboratory's (ETL) Fourier transform infrared radiometer (FTIR), and ARM's atmospheric emitted radiance interferometer (AERI), as well as cloud radars/ceilometers to identify clear conditions.

The ARM microwave radiometer (MWR) operating on Nauru provided another excellent dataset for the entire Nauru99 experiment. The calibration accuracy was verified by a liquid nitrogen blackbody target experiment and by consistent high quality tipping calibrations throughout the experiment. Comparisons were made for calculated clear-sky brightness temperature (T b) and for precipitable water vapor (PWV). These results indicate that substantial errors, sometimes of the order of 20% in PWV, occurred with the original radiosondes. When a Vaisala correction algorithm was applied, calculated T bs were in better agreement with the MWR than were the calculations based on the original data. However, the improvement in T b comparisons was noticeably different for different radiosonde lots and was not a monotonic function of radiosonde age. Three different absorption algorithms were compared: Liebe and Layton, Liebe et al., and Rosenkranz. Using AERI spectral radiance observations as a comparison standard, scaling of radiosondes by MWR data was compared with both original and corrected soundings.

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B. Boba Stankov, Earl E. Gossard, Bob L. Weber, Richard J. Lataitis, Allen B. White, Daniel E. Wolfe, David C. Welsh, and Richard G. Strauch

Abstract

An algorithm to compute the magnitude of humidity gradient profiles from the measurements of the zeroth, first, and second moments of wind profiling radar (WPR) Doppler spectra was developed and tested. The algorithm extends the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL) Advanced Signal Processing System (SPS), which provides quality control of radar data in the spectral domain for wind profile retrievals, to include the retrieval of humidity gradient profiles. The algorithm uses a recently developed approximate formula for correcting Doppler spectral widths for the spatial and temporal filtering effects. Data collected by a 3-beam 915-MHz WPR onboard the NOAA research vessel Ronald H. Brown (RHB) and a 5-beam 449-MHz WPR developed at the ETL were used in this study. The two datasets cover vastly different atmospheric conditions, with the 915-MHz shipborne system probing the tropical ocean atmosphere and the 449-MHz WPR probing continental winter upslope icing storm in the Colorado Front Range. Vaisala radiosonde measurements of humidity and temperature profiles on board the RHB and the standard National Weather Service (NWS) radiosonde measurements at Stapleton, Colorado, were used for comparisons. The cases chosen represent typical atmospheric conditions and not special atmospheric situations. Results show that using SPS-obtained measurements of the zeroth, first, and second spectral moments provide radar-obtained humidity gradient profiles up to 3 km AGL.

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