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Laura Bianco, Domenico Cimini, Frank S. Marzano, and Randolph Ware

Abstract

A self-consistent remote sensing physical method to retrieve atmospheric humidity high-resolution profiles by synergetic use of a microwave radiometer profiler (MWRP) and wind profiler radar (WPR) is illustrated. The proposed technique is based on the processing of WPR data for estimating the potential refractivity gradient profiles and their optimal combination with MWRP estimates of potential temperature profiles in order to fully retrieve humidity gradient profiles. The combined algorithm makes use of recent developments in WPR signal processing, computing the zeroth-, first-, and second-order moments of WPR Doppler spectra via a fuzzy logic method, which provides quality control of radar data in the spectral domain. On the other hand, the application of neural network to brightness temperatures, measured by a multichannel MWRP, can provide continuous estimates of tropospheric temperature and humidity profiles. Performance of the combined algorithm in retrieving humidity profiles is compared with simultaneous in situ radiosonde observations (raob’s). The empirical sets of WPR and MWRP data were collected at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program’s Southern Great Plains (SGP) site. Combined microwave radiometer and wind profiler measurements show encouraging results and significantly improve the spatial vertical resolution of atmospheric humidity profiles. Finally, some of the limitations found in the use of this technique and possible future improvements are also discussed.

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Frank S. Marzano, Domenico Cimini, Tommaso Rossi, Daniele Mortari, Sabatino Di Michele, and Peter Bauer

Abstract

The potential of an elliptical-orbit Flower Constellation of Millimeter-Wave Radiometers (FLORAD) for humidity profile and precipitating cloud observations is analyzed and discussed. The FLORAD mission scientific requirements are aimed at the retrieval of hydrological properties of the troposphere, specifically water vapor, cloud liquid content, rainfall, and snowfall profiles. This analysis is built on the results already obtained in previous works and is specifically devoted to evaluate the possibility of (i) deploying an incremental configuration of a Flower constellation of six minisatellites, optimized to provide the maximum revisit time over the Mediterranean area or, more generally, midlatitudes (between ±35° and ±65°); and (ii) evaluating in a quantitative way the accuracy of a one-dimensional variational data assimilation (1D-Var) Bayesian retrieval scheme to derive hydrometeor profiles at quasi-global scale using an optimized set of millimeter-wave frequencies. The obtained results show that a revisit time over the Mediterranean area (latitude 25° 45′, longitude −10° 35′°) of less than about 1 and 0.5 h can be obtained with four satellites and six satellites in Flower elliptical orbits, respectively. The accuracy of the retrieved hydrometeor profiles over land and sea for a winter and summer season at several latitudes shows the beneficial performance from using a combination of channels at 89, 118, 183, and 229 GHz. A lack of lower frequencies, such as those below 50 GHz, reduces the sounding capability for cloud lower layers, but the temperature and humidity retrievals provide a useful hydrometeor profile constraint. The FLORAD mission is fully consistent with the Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) scope and may significantly increase its space–time coverage. The concept of an incremental Flower constellation can ensure the flexibility to deploy a spaceborne system that achieves increasing coverage through separate launches of member spacecrafts. The choice of millimeter-wave frequencies provides the advantage of designing compact radiometers that comply well with the current technology of minisatellites (overall weight less than 500 kg). The overall budget of the FLORAD small mission might become appealing as an optimal compromise between retrieval performances and system complexity.

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Francesco Di Paola, Elisabetta Ricciardelli, Domenico Cimini, Filomena Romano, Mariassunta Viggiano, and Vincenzo Cuomo

Abstract

In this paper, the analysis of an extreme convective event atypical for the winter season, which occurred on 21 February 2013 on the east coast of Sicily and caused a flash flood over Catania, is presented. In just 1 h, more than 50 mm of precipitation was recorded, but it was not forecast by numerical weather prediction (NWP) models and, consequently, no severe weather warnings were sent to the population. The case study proposed is first examined with respect to the synoptic situation and then analyzed by means of two algorithms based on satellite observations: the Cloud Mask Coupling of Statistical and Physical Methods (MACSP) and the Precipitation Evolving Technique (PET), developed at the National Research Council of Italy. Both of the algorithms show their ability in the near-real-time monitoring of convective cell formation and their rapid evolution. As quantitative precipitation forecasts by NWP could fail, especially for atypical convective events like in Catania, tools like MACSP and PET shall be adopted by civil protection centers to monitor the real-time evolution of deep convection events in aid to the severe weather warning service.

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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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Paul E. Racette, Ed R. Westwater, Yong Han, Albin J. Gasiewski, Marian Klein, Domenico Cimini, David C. Jones, Will Manning, Edward J. Kim, James R. Wang, Vladimir Leuski, and Peter Kiedron

Abstract

Extremely dry conditions characterized by amounts of precipitable water vapor (PWV) as low as 1–2 mm commonly occur in high-latitude regions during the winter months. While such dry atmospheres carry only a few percent of the latent heat energy compared to tropical atmospheres, the effects of low vapor amounts on the polar radiation budget—both directly through modulation of longwave radiation and indirectly through the formation of clouds—are considerable. Accurate measurements of PWV during such dry conditions are needed to improve polar radiation models for use in understanding and predicting change in the climatically sensitive polar regions. To this end, the strong water-vapor absorption line at 183.310 GHz provides a unique means of measuring low amounts of PWV. Weighting function analysis, forward model calculations based upon a 7-yr radiosonde dataset, and retrieval simulations consistently predict that radiometric measurements made using several millimeter-wavelength (MMW) channels near the 183-GHz line, together with established microwave (MW) measurements near the 22.235-GHz water-vapor line and ∼31-GHz atmospheric absorption window can be used to determine within 5% uncertainty the full range of PWV expected in the Arctic. This combined capability stands in spite of accuracy limitations stemming from uncertainties due to the sensitivity of the vertical distribution of temperature and water vapor at MMW channels.

In this study the potential of MMW radiometry using the 183-GHz line for measuring low amounts of PWV is demonstrated both theoretically and experimentally. The study uses data obtained during March 1999 as part of an experiment conducted at the Department of Energy’s Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) site near Barrow, Alaska. Several radiometers from both NOAA and NASA were deployed during the experiment to provide the first combined MMW and MW ground-based dataset during dry Arctic conditions. Single-channel retrievals of PWV were performed using the MW and MMW data. Discrepancies in the retrieved values were found to be consistent with differences observed between measured brightness temperatures (TBs) and forward-modeled TBs based on concurrent radiosonde profiles. These discrepancies are greater than can be explained by radiometer measurement error alone; errors in the absorption models and uncertainty in the radiosonde measurements contribute to the discrepancies observed. The measurements, retrieval technique, and line model discrepancies are discussed, along with difficulties and potential of MMW/MW PWV measurement.

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Vinia Mattioli, Christophe Accadia, Catherine Prigent, Susanne Crewell, Alan Geer, Patrick Eriksson, Stuart Fox, Juan R. Pardo, Eli J. Mlawer, Maria Cadeddu, Michael Bremer, Carlos De Breuck, Alain Smette, Domenico Cimini, Emma Turner, Mario Mech, Frank S. Marzano, Pascal Brunel, Jerome Vidot, Ralf Bennartz, Tobias Wehr, Sabatino Di Michele, and Viju O. John
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Véronique Ducrocq, Isabelle Braud, Silvio Davolio, Rossella Ferretti, Cyrille Flamant, Agustin Jansa, Norbert Kalthoff, Evelyne Richard, Isabelle Taupier-Letage, Pierre-Alain Ayral, Sophie Belamari, Alexis Berne, Marco Borga, Brice Boudevillain, Olivier Bock, Jean-Luc Boichard, Marie-Noëlle Bouin, Olivier Bousquet, Christophe Bouvier, Jacopo Chiggiato, Domenico Cimini, Ulrich Corsmeier, Laurent Coppola, Philippe Cocquerez, Eric Defer, Julien Delanoë, Paolo Di Girolamo, Alexis Doerenbecher, Philippe Drobinski, Yann Dufournet, Nadia Fourrié, Jonathan J. Gourley, Laurent Labatut, Dominique Lambert, Jérôme Le Coz, Frank S. Marzano, Gilles Molinié, Andrea Montani, Guillaume Nord, Mathieu Nuret, Karim Ramage, William Rison, Odile Roussot, Frédérique Said, Alfons Schwarzenboeck, Pierre Testor, Joël Van Baelen, Béatrice Vincendon, Montserrat Aran, and Jorge Tamayo

The Mediterranean region is frequently affected by heavy precipitation events associated with flash floods, landslides, and mudslides that cause hundreds of millions of euros in damages per year and, often, casualties. A major field campaign was devoted to heavy precipitation and f lash f loods from 5 September to 6 November 2012 within the framework of the 10-yr international Hydrological Cycle in the Mediterranean Experiment (HyMeX) dedicated to the hydrological cycle and related high-impact events. The 2-month field campaign took place over the northwestern Mediterranean Sea and its surrounding coastal regions in France, Italy, and Spain. The observation strategy of the field experiment was devised to improve knowledge of the following key components leading to heavy precipitation and flash flooding in the region: 1) the marine atmospheric f lows that transport moist and conditionally unstable air toward the coasts, 2) the Mediterranean Sea acting as a moisture and energy source, 3) the dynamics and microphysics of the convective systems producing heavy precipitation, and 4) the hydrological processes during flash floods. This article provides the rationale for developing this first HyMeX field experiment and an overview of its design and execution. Highlights of some intensive observation periods illustrate the potential of the unique datasets collected for process understanding, model improvement, and data assimilation.

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