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Manfred Wendisch, Dörthe Müller, Dieter Schell, and Jost Heintzenberg


An airborne albedometer including a low-cost, precise, and fast sensor head horizontal stabilization system was developed to measure spectral down- and upward irradiances between 400- and 1000-nm wavelength. It is installed on a small research aircraft (type Partenavia P68-B), but it can easily be mounted on other aircraft as well. The stabilization unit keeps the two radiation sensor heads (up- and downward looking) of the albedometer in a horizontal position during the flight with an accuracy of better than ±0.2° over a range of pitch and roll angles of ±6°. The system works properly for angular velocities up to 3° s-1 with a response time of the horizontal adjustment of 43 ms. Thus it can be applied even under turbulent atmospheric conditions. The limitations of the stabilization have been determined by laboratory and in-flight performance tests. As a result it is found that the new horizontal stabilization system ensures that misalignment-related uncertainties of the measured irradiances are less than 1% for solar zenith angles up to 70°. This does not include uncertainties due to deviations from the ideal cosine response of the optical inlet system and measurement errors resulting from absolute calibration problems. An example of downward spectral irradiances measured under cloudless conditions above and within a distinct boundary layer with enhanced aerosol particle concentrations shows the potential of the new instrument for improved radiative budget measurements in the atmosphere.

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Holger Siebert, Harald Franke, Katrin Lehmann, Rolf Maser, Ewe Wei Saw, Dieter Schell, Raymond A. Shaw, and Manfred Wendisch

Helicopter-based measurements provide an opportunity for probing the finescale dynamics and microphysics of clouds simultaneously in space and time. Due to the low true air speed compared with research aircraft, a helicopter allows for measurements with much higher spatial resolution. To circumvent the influence of the helicopter downwash the autonomous measurement payload Airborne Cloud Turbulence Observation System (ACTOS) is carried as an external cargo 140 m below the helicopter. ACTOS allows for collocated measurements of the dynamical and cloud microphysical parameters with a spatial resolution of better than 10 cm.

The interaction between turbulence and cloud microphysical processes is demonstrated using the following two cloud cases from recent helicopter measurements: i) a cumulus cloud with a low degree of turbulence and without strong vertical dynamics, and, in contrast, ii) an actively growing cloud with increased turbulence and stronger updrafts. The turbulence and microphysical measurements suggest that entrainment at the tops of these two clouds occurs by inhomogeneous and homogeneous mixing, respectively.

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