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R. Boers, H. Klein Baltink, H. J. Hemink, F. C. Bosveld, and M. Moerman

Abstract

The development of a radiation fog layer at the Cabauw Experimental Site for Atmospheric Research (51.97°N, 4.93°E) on 23 March 2011 was observed with ground-based in situ and remote sensing observations to investigate the relationship between visibility and radar reflectivity. The fog layer thickness was less than 200 m. Radar reflectivity values did not exceed −25 dBZ even with visibilities less than 100 m. The onset and evaporation of fog produce different radar reflectivity–visibility relationships. The evolution of the fog layer was modeled with a droplet activation model that used the aerosol size distribution observed at the 60-m altitude tower level as input. Radar reflectivity and visibility were calculated from model drop size spectra using Mie scattering theory. Since radiative cooling rates are small in comparison with cooling rates due to adiabatic lift of aerosol-laden air, the modeled supersaturation remains low so that few aerosol particles are activated to cloud droplets. The modeling results suggest that the different radar reflectivity–visibility relationships are the result of differences in the interplay between water vapor and cloud droplets during formation and evaporation of the fog. During droplet activation, only a few large cloud droplets remain after successfully competing for water vapor with the smaller activated droplets. These small droplets eventually evaporate (deactivate) again. In the fog dissolution/evaporation stage, only these large droplet need to be evaporated. Therefore, to convert radar reflectivity to visibility for traffic safety products, knowledge of the state of local fog evolution is necessary.

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P. Baas, F. C. Bosveld, H. Klein Baltink, and A. A. M. Holtslag

Abstract

A climatology of nocturnal low-level jets (LLJs) is presented for the topographically flat measurement site at Cabauw, the Netherlands. LLJ characteristics are derived from a 7-yr half-hourly database of wind speed profiles, obtained from the 200-m mast and a wind profiler. Many LLJs at Cabauw originate from an inertial oscillation, which develops after sunset in a layer decoupled from the surface by stable stratification. The data are classified to different types of stable boundary layers by using the geostrophic wind speed and the isothermal net radiative cooling as classification parameters. For each of these classes, LLJ characteristics like frequency of occurrence, height above ground level, and the turning of the wind vector across the boundary layer are determined. It is found that LLJs occur in about 20% of the nights, are typically situated at 140–260 m above ground level, and have a speed of 6–10 m s−1. Development of a substantial LLJ is most likely to occur for moderate geostrophic forcing and a high radiative cooling. A comparison with the 40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40) is added to illustrate how the results can be used to evaluate the performance of atmospheric models.

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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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H. Leijnse, R. Uijlenhoet, C. Z. van de Beek, A. Overeem, T. Otto, C. M. H. Unal, Y. Dufournet, H. W. J. Russchenberg, J. Figueras i Ventura, H. Klein Baltink, and I. Holleman

Abstract

The Cabauw Experimental Site for Atmospheric Research (CESAR) observatory hosts a unique collection of instruments related to precipitation measurement. The data collected by these instruments are stored in a database that is freely accessible through a Web interface. The instruments present at the CESAR site include three disdrometers (two on the ground and one at 200 m above ground level), a dense network of rain gauges, three profiling radars (1.3, 3.3, and 35 GHz), and an X-band Doppler polarimetric scanning radar. In addition to these instruments, operational weather radar data from the nearby (∼25 km) De Bilt C-band Doppler radar are also available. The richness of the datasets available is illustrated for a rainfall event, where the synergy of the different instruments provides insight into precipitation at multiple spatial and temporal scales. These datasets, which are freely available to the scientific community, can contribute greatly to our understanding of precipitation-related atmospheric and hydrologic processes.

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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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