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D. D. Turner and J. E. M. Goldsmith


Prior to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program’s first water vapor intensive observation period (WVIOP) at the Cloud and Radiation Testbed site near Lamont, Oklahoma, an automated 24-h Raman lidar was delivered to the site. This instrument, which makes high-resolution measurements of water vapor both spatially and temporally, is capable of making these measurements with no operator interaction (other than initial start-up) for days at a time. Water vapor measurements collected during the 1996 and 1997 WVIOPs are discussed here, illustrating both the nighttime and daytime capabilities of this system. System characteristics, calibration issues, and techniques are presented. Finally, detailed intercomparisons of the lidar’s data with those from a microwave radiometer, radiosondes, an instrumented tower, a chilled mirror flown on both a tethersonde and kite, and measurements from aircraft are shown and discussed, highlighting the accuracy and stability of this system for both nighttime and daytime measurements.

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D. D. Turner, J. E. M. Goldsmith, and R. A. Ferrare
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J. E. M. Goldsmith, Scott E. Bisson, Richard A. Ferrare, Keith D. Evans, David N. Whiteman, and S. H. Melfi

Raman lidar is a leading candidate for providing the detailed space- and time-resolved measurements of water vapor needed by a variety of atmospheric studies. Simultaneous measurements of atmospheric water vapor are described using two collocated Raman lidar systems. These lidar systems, developed at the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and Sandia National Laboratories, acquired approximately 12 hours of simultaneous water vapor data during three nights in November 1992 while the systems were collocated at the Goddard Space Flight Center. Although these lidar systems differ substantially in their design, measured water vapor profiles agreed within 0.15 g kg−1 between altitudes of 1 and 5 km. Comparisons with coincident radiosondes showed all instruments agreed within 0.2 g kg−1 in this same altitude range. Both lidars also clearly showed the advection of water vapor in the middle troposphere and the pronounced increase in water vapor in the nocturnal boundary layer that occurred during one night.

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B. B. Demoz, D. O’C. Starr, K. D. Evans, A. R. Lare, D. N. Whiteman, G. Schwemmer, R. A. Ferrare, J. E. M. Goldsmith, and S. E. Bisson


Detailed observations of the interactions of a cold front and a dryline over the central United States that led to dramatic undulations in the boundary layer, including an undular bore, are investigated using high-resolution water vapor mixing ratio profiles measured by Raman lidars. The lidar-derived water vapor mixing ratio profiles revealed the complex interaction between a dryline and a cold-frontal system. An elevated, well-mixed, and deep midtropospheric layer, as well as a sharp transition (between 5- and 6-km altitude) to a drier region aloft, was observed. The moisture oscillations due to the undular bore and the mixing of the prefrontal air mass with the cold air at the frontal surface are all well depicted. The enhanced precipitable water vapor and roll clouds, the undulations associated with the bore, the strong vertical circulation and mixing that led to the increase in the depth of the low-level moist layer, and the subsequent lifting of this moist layer by the cold-frontal surface, as well as the feeder flow behind the cold front, are clearly indicated.

A synthesis of the Raman lidar–measured water vapor mixing ratio profiles, satellite, radiometer, tower, and Oklahoma Mesonet data indicated that the undular bore was triggered by the approaching cold front and propagated south-southeastward. The observed and calculated bore speeds were in reasonable agreement. Wave-ducting analysis showed that favorable wave-trapping mechanisms existed; a low-level stable layer capped by an inversion, a well-mixed midtropospheric layer, and wind curvature from a low-level jet were found.

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The Arm Program's Water Vapor Intensive Observation Periods

Overview, Initial Accomplishments, and Future Challenges

H. E. Revercomb, D. D. Turner, D. C. Tobin, R. O. Knuteson, W. F. Feltz, J. Barnard, J. Bösenberg, S. Clough, D. Cook, R. Ferrare, J. Goldsmith, S. Gutman, R. Halthore, B. Lesht, J. Liljegren, H. Linné, J. Michalsky, V. Morris, W. Porch, S. Richardson, B. Schmid, M. Splitt, T. Van Hove, E. Westwater, and D. Whiteman

A series of water vapor intensive observation periods (WVIOPs) were conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Oklahoma between 1996 and 2000. The goals of these WVIOPs are to characterize the accuracy of the operational water vapor observations and to develop techniques to improve the accuracy of these measurements.

The initial focus of these experiments was on the lower atmosphere, for which the goal is an absolute accuracy of better than 2% in total column water vapor, corresponding to ~1 W m−2 of infrared radiation at the surface. To complement the operational water vapor instruments during the WVIOPs, additional instrumentation including a scanning Raman lidar, microwave radiometers, chilled-mirror hygrometers, a differential absorption lidar, and ground-based solar radiometers were deployed at the ARM site. The unique datasets from the 1996, 1997, and 1999 experiments have led to many results, including the discovery and characterization of a large (> 25%) sonde-to-sonde variability in the water vapor profiles from Vaisala RS-80H radiosondes that acts like a height-independent calibration factor error. However, the microwave observations provide a stable reference that can be used to remove a large part of the sonde-to-sonde calibration variability. In situ capacitive water vapor sensors demonstrated agreement within 2% of chilled-mirror hygrometers at the surface and on an instrumented tower. Water vapor profiles retrieved from two Raman lidars, which have both been calibrated to the ARM microwave radiometer, showed agreement to within 5% for all altitudes below 8 km during two WVIOPs. The mean agreement of the total precipitable water vapor from different techniques has converged significantly from early analysis that originally showed differences up to 15%. Retrievals of total precipitable water vapor (PWV) from the ARM microwave radiometer are now found to be only 3% moister than PWV derived from new GPS results, and about 2% drier than the mean of radiosonde data after a recently defined sonde dry-bias correction is applied. Raman lidar profiles calibrated using tower-mounted chilled-mirror hygrometers confirm the expected sensitivity of microwave radiometer data to water vapor changes, but it is drier than the microwave radiometer (MWR) by 0.95 mm for all PWV amounts. However, observations from different collocated microwave radiometers have shown larger differences than expected and attempts to resolve the remaining inconsistencies (in both calibration and forward modeling) are continuing.

The paper concludes by outlining the objectives of the recent 2000 WVIOP and the ARM–First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Water Vapor Experiment (AFWEX), the latter of which switched the focus to characterizing upper-tropospheric humidity measurements.

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R. A. Ferrare, E. V. Browell, S. Ismail, S. A. Kooi, L. H. Brasseur, V. G. Brackett, M. B. Clayton, J. D. W. Barrick, G. S. Diskin, J. E. M. Goldsmith, B. M. Lesht, J. R. Podolske, G. W. Sachse, F. J. Schmidlin, D. D. Turner, D. N. Whiteman, D. Tobin, L. M. Miloshevich, H. E. Revercomb, B. B. Demoz, and P. Di Girolamo


Water vapor mass mixing ratio profiles from NASA's Lidar Atmospheric Sensing Experiment (LASE) system acquired during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM)–First International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) Regional Experiment (FIRE) Water Vapor Experiment (AFWEX) are used as a reference to characterize upper-troposphere water vapor (UTWV) measured by ground-based Raman lidars, radiosondes, and in situ aircraft sensors over the Department of Energy (DOE) ARM Southern Great Plains (SGP) site in northern Oklahoma. LASE was deployed from the NASA DC-8 aircraft and measured water vapor over the ARM SGP Central Facility (CF) site during seven flights between 27 November and 10 December 2000. Initially, the DOE ARM SGP Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) Raman lidar (CARL) UTWV profiles were about 5%–7% wetter than LASE in the upper troposphere, and the Vaisala RS80-H radiosonde profiles were about 10% drier than LASE between 8 and 12 km. Scaling the Vaisala water vapor profiles to match the precipitable water vapor (PWV) measured by the ARM SGP microwave radiometer (MWR) did not change these results significantly. By accounting for an overlap correction of the CARL water vapor profiles and by employing schemes designed to correct the Vaisala RS80-H calibration method and account for the time response of the Vaisala RS80-H water vapor sensor, the average differences between the CARL and Vaisala radiosonde upper-troposphere water vapor profiles are reduced to about 5%, which is within the ARM goal of mean differences of less than 10%. The LASE and DC-8 in situ diode laser hygrometer (DLH) UTWV measurements generally agreed to within about 3%–4%. The DC-8 in situ frost point cryogenic hygrometer and Snow White chilled-mirror measurements were drier than the LASE, Raman lidars, and corrected Vaisala RS80H measurements by about 10%–25% and 10%–15%, respectively. Sippican (formerly VIZ Manufacturing) carbon hygristor radiosondes exhibited large variabilities and poor agreement with the other measurements. PWV derived from the LASE profiles agreed to within about 3% on average with PWV derived from the ARM SGP microwave radiometer. The agreement between the LASE and MWR PWV and the LASE and CARL UTWV measurements supports the hypotheses that MWR measurements of the 22-GHz water vapor line can accurately constrain the total water vapor amount and that the CART Raman lidar, when calibrated using the MWR PWV, can provide an accurate, stable reference for characterizing upper-troposphere water vapor.

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