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Ulrich Löhnert, S. Crewell, O. Krasnov, E. O’Connor, and H. Russchenberg

Abstract

This paper describes advances in ground-based thermodynamic profiling of the lower troposphere through sensor synergy. The well-documented integrated profiling technique (IPT), which uses a microwave profiler, a cloud radar, and a ceilometer to simultaneously retrieve vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, and liquid water content (LWC) of nonprecipitating clouds, is further developed toward an enhanced performance in the boundary layer and lower troposphere. For a more accurate temperature profile, this is accomplished by including an elevation scanning measurement modus of the microwave profiler. Height-dependent RMS accuracies of temperature (humidity) ranging from ∼0.3 to 0.9 K (0.5–0.8 g m−3) in the boundary layer are derived from retrieval simulations and confirmed experimentally with measurements at distinct heights taken during the 2005 International Lindenberg Campaign for Assessment of Humidity and Cloud Profiling Systems and its Impact on High-Resolution Modeling (LAUNCH) of the German Weather Service. Temperature inversions, especially of the lower boundary layer, are captured in a very satisfactory way by using the elevation scanning mode. To improve the quality of liquid water content measurements in clouds the authors incorporate a sophisticated target classification scheme developed within the European cloud observing network CloudNet. It allows the detailed discrimination between different types of backscatterers detected by cloud radar and ceilometer. Finally, to allow IPT application also to drizzling cases, an LWC profiling method is integrated. This technique classifies the detected hydrometeors into three different size classes using certain thresholds determined by radar reflectivity and/or ceilometer extinction profiles. By inclusion into IPT, the retrieved profiles are made consistent with the measurements of the microwave profiler and an LWC a priori profile. Results of IPT application to 13 days of the LAUNCH campaign are analyzed, and the importance of integrated profiling for model evaluation is underlined.

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A. Protat, D. Bouniol, E. J. O’Connor, H. Klein Baltink, J. Verlinde, and K. Widener

Abstract

The calibration of the CloudSat spaceborne cloud radar has been thoroughly assessed using very accurate internal link budgets before launch, comparisons with predicted ocean surface backscatter at 94 GHz, direct comparisons with airborne cloud radars, and statistical comparisons with ground-based cloud radars at different locations of the world. It is believed that the calibration of CloudSat is accurate to within 0.5–1 dB. In the present paper it is shown that an approach similar to that used for the statistical comparisons with ground-based radars can now be adopted the other way around to calibrate other ground-based or airborne radars against CloudSat and/or to detect anomalies in long time series of ground-based radar measurements, provided that the calibration of CloudSat is followed up closely (which is the case). The power of using CloudSat as a global radar calibrator is demonstrated using the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement cloud radar data taken at Barrow, Alaska, the cloud radar data from the Cabauw site, Netherlands, and airborne Doppler cloud radar measurements taken along the CloudSat track in the Arctic by the Radar System Airborne (RASTA) cloud radar installed in the French ATR-42 aircraft for the first time. It is found that the Barrow radar data in 2008 are calibrated too high by 9.8 dB, while the Cabauw radar data in 2008 are calibrated too low by 8.0 dB. The calibration of the RASTA airborne cloud radar using direct comparisons with CloudSat agrees well with the expected gains and losses resulting from the change in configuration that required verification of the RASTA calibration.

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A. Protat, J. Delanoë, E. J. O’Connor, and T. S. L’Ecuyer
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Dmitry Beletsky, William P. O’Connor, David J. Schwab, and David E. Dietrich

Abstract

Two three-dimensional primitive equation numerical ocean models are applied to the problem of internal Kelvin waves and coastal upwelling in the Great Lakes. One is the Princeton Ocean Model (POM) with a terrain-following (sigma) vertical coordinate, and the other is the Dietrich/Center for Air Sea Technology (DIECAST) model with constant z-level coordinates. The sigma coordinate system is particularly convenient for simulating coastal upwelling, while the z-level system might be better for representing abrupt topographic changes. The models are first tested with a stratified idealized circular lake 100 km in diameter and 100 m deep. Two bottom topographies are considered: a flat bottom and a parabolic depth profile. Three rectilinear horizontal grids are used: 5, 2.5, and 1.25 km. The POM was used with 13 vertical levels, while the DIECAST model was tested with both 13 and 29 vertical levels. The models are driven with an impulsive wind stress imitating the passage of a weather system.

In the case of the flat-bottom basin, the dynamical response to light wind forcing is a small amplitude internal Kelvin wave. For both models, the speed of the Kelvin wave in the model is somewhat less than the inviscid analytic solution wave speed. In the case of strong wind forcing, the thermocline breaks the surface (full upwelling) and a strong surface thermal front appears. After the wind ceases, the edges of this thermal front propagate cyclonically around the lake, quite similar to an internal Kelvin wave. In the case of parabolic bathymetry, Kelvin wave and thermal front propagation is modified by interaction with a topographic wave and a geostrophic circulation. In both models, higher horizontal resolution gives higher wave and frontal speeds. Horizontal resolution is much more critical in the full upwelling case than in the Kelvin wave case. Vertical resolution is not as critical.

The models are also applied to Lake Michigan to determine the response to strong northerly winds causing upwelling along the eastern shore. The results are more complex than for the circular basin, but clearly show the characteristics of cyclonically propagating thermal fronts. The resulting northward warm front propagation along the eastern shore compares favorably with observations of temperature fluctuations at municipal water intakes after a storm, although the model frontal speed was less than the observed speed.

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A. Protat, J. Delanoë, E. J. O’Connor, and T. S. L’Ecuyer

Abstract

In this paper, the statistical properties of tropical ice clouds (ice water content, visible extinction, effective radius, and total number concentration) derived from 3 yr of ground-based radar–lidar retrievals from the U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility in Darwin, Australia, are compared with the same properties derived using the official CloudSat microphysical retrieval methods and from a simpler statistical method using radar reflectivity and air temperature. It is shown that the two official CloudSat microphysical products (2B-CWC-RO and 2B-CWC-RVOD) are statistically virtually identical. The comparison with the ground-based radar–lidar retrievals shows that all satellite methods produce ice water contents and extinctions in a much narrower range than the ground-based method and overestimate the mean vertical profiles of microphysical parameters below 10-km height by over a factor of 2. Better agreements are obtained above 10-km height. Ways to improve these estimates are suggested in this study. Effective radii retrievals from the standard CloudSat algorithms are characterized by a large positive bias of 8–12 μm. A sensitivity test shows that in response to such a bias the cloud longwave forcing is increased from 44.6 to 46.9 W m−2 (implying an error of about 5%), whereas the negative cloud shortwave forcing is increased from −81.6 to −82.8 W m−2. Further analysis reveals that these modest effects (although not insignificant) can be much larger for optically thick clouds. The statistical method using CloudSat reflectivities and air temperature was found to produce inaccurate mean vertical profiles and probability distribution functions of effective radius. This study also shows that the retrieval of the total number concentration needs to be improved in the official CloudSat microphysical methods prior to a quantitative use for the characterization of tropical ice clouds. Finally, the statistical relationship used to produce ice water content from extinction and air temperature obtained by the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) satellite is evaluated for tropical ice clouds. It is suggested that the CALIPSO ice water content retrieval is robust for tropical ice clouds, but that the temperature dependence of the statistical relationship used should be slightly refined to better reproduce the radar–lidar retrievals.

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R. A. Assel, J. E. Janowiak, D. Boyce, C. O'Connors, F. H. Quinn, and D. C. Norton

Winter 1997/98 occurred during one of the strongest warm El Niño events, and the Great Lakes experienced one of the least extensive ice covers of this century. Seasonal maximum ice cover for the combined area of the Great Lakes was the lowest on record (15%) relative to winters since 1963, a distinction formerly held by winter 1982/83 (25%), which was also an exceptionally strong El Niño winter. Maximum ice covers set new lows in winter 1997/98 for Lakes Erie (5%), Ontario (6%), and Superior (11%), tied the all-time low for Lake Huron (29%), and came close to tying the all-time low on Lake Michigan (15%; all-time low is 13%). Here the authors compare seasonal progression of lake-averaged ice cover for winter 1982/83, winter 1997/98, and a 20-winter normal (1960–79) derived from the NOAA Great Lakes Ice Atlas and discuss the 1997/98 ice cover in detail. Winter air temperatures in the Great Lakes were at or near record high levels, storms were displaced farther to the south over eastern North America, and precipitation was below average in the northern portion of the Great Lakes region. The Northern Hemispheric synoptic flow patterns responsible for this winter weather, the Great Lakes winter severity over the past two centuries, and impacts of this mild winter are briefly discussed.

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A. J. Illingworth, D. Cimini, C. Gaffard, M. Haeffelin, V. Lehmann, U. Löhnert, E. J. O’Connor, and D. Ruffieux

Abstract

A new generation of high-resolution (1 km) forecast models promises to revolutionize the prediction of hazardous weather such as windstorms, flash floods, and poor air quality. To realize this promise, a dense observing network, focusing on the lower few kilometers of the atmosphere, is required to verify these new forecast models with the ultimate goal of assimilating the data. At present there are insufficient systematic observations of the vertical profiles of water vapor, temperature, wind, and aerosols; a major constraint is the absence of funding to install new networks. A recent research program financed by the European Union, tasked with addressing this lack of observations, demonstrated that the assimilation of observations from an existing wind profiler network reduces forecast errors, provided that the individual instruments are strategically located and properly maintained. Additionally, it identified three further existing European networks of instruments that are currently underexploited, but with minimal expense they could deliver quality-controlled data to national weather services in near–real time, so the data could be assimilated into forecast models. Specifically, 1) several hundred automatic lidars and ceilometers can provide backscatter profiles associated with aerosol and cloud properties and structures with 30-m vertical resolution every minute; 2) more than 20 Doppler lidars, a fairly new technology, can measure vertical and horizontal winds in the lower atmosphere with a vertical resolution of 30 m every 5 min; and 3) about 30 microwave profilers can estimate profiles of temperature and humidity in the lower few kilometers every 10 min. Examples of potential benefits from these instruments are presented.

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David R. Doelling, Moguo Sun, Le Trang Nguyen, Michele L. Nordeen, Conor O. Haney, Dennis F. Keyes, and Pamela E. Mlynczak

Abstract

The Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) project has provided the climate community 15 years of globally observed top-of-the-atmosphere fluxes critical for climate and cloud feedback studies. To accurately monitor the earth’s radiation budget, the CERES instrument footprint fluxes must be spatially and temporally averaged properly. The CERES synoptic 1° (SYN1deg) product incorporates derived fluxes from the geostationary satellites (GEOs) to account for the regional diurnal flux variations in between Terra and Aqua CERES measurements. The Edition 4 CERES reprocessing effort has provided the opportunity to reevaluate the derivation of longwave (LW) fluxes from GEO narrowband radiances by examining the improvements from incorporating 1-hourly versus 3-hourly GEO data, additional GEO infrared (IR) channels, and multichannel GEO cloud properties. The resultant GEO LW fluxes need to be consistent across the 16-satellite climate data record. To that end, the addition of the water vapor channel, available on all GEOs, was more effective than using a reanalysis dataset’s column-weighted relative humidity combined with the window channel radiance. The benefit of the CERES LW angular directional model to derive fluxes was limited by the inconsistency of the GEO cloud retrievals. Greater success was found in the direct conversion of window and water vapor channel radiances into fluxes. Incorporating 1-hourly GEO fluxes had the greatest impact on improving the accuracy of high-temporal-resolution fluxes, and normalizing the GEO LW fluxes with CERES greatly reduced the monthly regional LW flux bias.

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A. Protat, D. Bouniol, J. Delanoë, E. O’Connor, P. T. May, A. Plana-Fattori, A. Hasson, U. Görsdorf, and A. J. Heymsfield

Abstract

A quantitative assessment of Cloudsat reflectivities and basic ice cloud properties (cloud base, top, and thickness) is conducted in the present study from both airborne and ground-based observations. Airborne observations allow direct comparisons on a limited number of ocean backscatter and cloud samples, whereas the ground-based observations allow statistical comparisons on much longer time series but with some additional assumptions. Direct comparisons of the ocean backscatter and ice cloud reflectivities measured by an airborne cloud radar and Cloudsat during two field experiments indicate that, on average, Cloudsat measures ocean backscatter 0.4 dB higher and ice cloud reflectivities 1 dB higher than the airborne cloud radar. Five ground-based sites have also been used for a statistical evaluation of the Cloudsat reflectivities and basic cloud properties. From these comparisons, it is found that the weighted-mean difference Z CloudsatZ Ground ranges from −0.4 to +0.3 dB when a ±1-h time lag around the Cloudsat overpass is considered. Given the fact that the airborne and ground-based radar calibration accuracy is about 1 dB, it is concluded that the reflectivities of the spaceborne, airborne, and ground-based radars agree within the expected calibration uncertainties of the airborne and ground-based radars. This result shows that the Cloudsat radar does achieve the claimed sensitivity of around −29 dBZ. Finally, an evaluation of the tropical “convective ice” profiles measured by Cloudsat has been carried out over the tropical site in Darwin, Australia. It is shown that these profiles can be used statistically down to approximately 9-km height (or 4 km above the melting layer) without attenuation and multiple scattering corrections over Darwin. It is difficult to estimate if this result is applicable to all types of deep convective storms in the tropics. However, this first study suggests that the Cloudsat profiles in convective ice need to be corrected for attenuation by supercooled liquid water and ice aggregates/graupel particles and multiple scattering prior to their quantitative use.

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A. J. Illingworth, D. Cimini, A. Haefele, M. Haeffelin, M. Hervo, S. Kotthaus, U. Löhnert, P. Martinet, I. Mattis, E. J. O’Connor, and R. Potthast

Abstract

To realize the promise of improved predictions of hazardous weather such as flash floods, wind storms, fog, and poor air quality from high-resolution mesoscale models, the forecast models must be initialized with an accurate representation of the current state of the atmosphere, but the lowest few kilometers are hardly accessible by satellite, especially in dynamically active conditions. We report on recent European developments in the exploitation of existing ground-based profiling instruments so that they are networked and able to send data in real time to forecast centers. The three classes of instruments are i) automatic lidars and ceilometers providing backscatter profiles of clouds, aerosols, dust, fog, and volcanic ash, the last two being especially important for air traffic control; ii) Doppler wind lidars deriving profiles of wind, turbulence, wind shear, wind gusts, and low-level jets; and iii) microwave radiometers estimating profiles of temperature and humidity in nearly all weather conditions. The project includes collaboration from 22 European countries and 15 European national weather services, which involves the implementation of common operating procedures, instrument calibrations, data formats, and retrieval algorithms. Currently, data from 265 ceilometers in 19 countries are being distributed in near–real time to national weather forecast centers; this should soon rise to many hundreds. One wind lidar is currently delivering real time data rising to 5 by the end of 2019, and the plan is to incorporate radiometers in 2020. Initial data assimilation tests indicate a positive impact of the new data.

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