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C. M. Naud, J-P. Muller, E. C. Slack, C. L. Wrench, and E. E. Clothiaux

Abstract

The Chilbolton 3-GHz Advanced Meteorological Radar (CAMRa), which is mounted on a fully steerable 25-m dish, can provide three-dimensional information on the presence of hydrometeors. The potential for this radar to make useful measurements of low-altitude liquid water cloud structure is investigated. To assess the cloud-height assignment capabilities of the 3-GHz radar, low-level cloud-top heights were retrieved from CAMRa measurements made between May and July 2003 and were compared with cloud-top heights retrieved from a vertically pointing 94-GHz radar that operates alongside CAMRa. The average difference between the 94- and 3-GHz radar-derived cloud-top heights is shown to be −0.1 ± 0.4 km. To assess the capability of 3-GHz radar scans to be used for satellite-derived cloud-top-height validation, multiangle imaging spectroradiometer (MISR) cloud-top heights were compared with both 94- and 3-GHz radar retrievals. The average difference between 94-GHz radar and MISR cloud-top heights is shown to be 0.1 ± 0.3 km, while the 3-GHz radar and MISR average cloud-top-height difference is shown to be −0.2 ± 0.6 km. In assessing the value of the CAMRa measurements, the problems associated with low-reflectivity values from stratiform liquid water clouds, ground clutter, and Bragg scattering resulting from turbulent mixing are all addressed. It is shown that, despite the difficulties, the potential exists for CAMRa measurements to contribute significantly to liquid water cloud-top-height retrievals, leading to the production of two-dimensional transects (i.e., maps) of cloud-top height.

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Cloudnet

Continuous Evaluation of Cloud Profiles in Seven Operational Models Using Ground-Based Observations

A. J. Illingworth, R. J. Hogan, E.J. O'Connor, D. Bouniol, M. E. Brooks, J. Delanoé, D. P. Donovan, J. D. Eastment, N. Gaussiat, J. W. F. Goddard, M. Haeffelin, H. Klein Baltink, O. A. Krasnov, J. Pelon, J.-M. Piriou, A. Protat, H. W. J. Russchenberg, A. Seifert, A. M. Tompkins, G.-J. van Zadelhoff, F. Vinit, U. Willén, D. R. Wilson, and C. L. Wrench

The Cloudnet project aims to provide a systematic evaluation of clouds in forecast and climate models by comparing the model output with continuous ground-based observations of the vertical profiles of cloud properties. In the models, the properties of clouds are simplified and expressed in terms of the fraction of the model grid box, which is filled with cloud, together with the liquid and ice water content of the clouds. These models must get the clouds right if they are to correctly represent both their radiative properties and their key role in the production of precipitation, but there are few observations of the vertical profiles of the cloud properties that show whether or not they are successful. Cloud profiles derived from cloud radars, ceilometers, and dual-frequency microwave radiometers operated at three sites in France, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom for several years have been compared with the clouds in seven European models. The advantage of this continuous appraisal is that the feedback on how new versions of models are performing is provided in quasi-real time, as opposed to the much longer time scale needed for in-depth analysis of complex field studies. Here, two occasions are identified when the introduction of new versions of the ECMWF and Météo-France models leads to an immediate improvement in the representation of the clouds and also provides statistics on the performance of the seven models. The Cloudnet analysis scheme is currently being expanded to include sites outside Europe and further operational forecasting and climate models.

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