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Peter T. May
,
Kenneth P. Moran
, and
Richard G. Strauch

Abstract

Temperature measurements obtained using radiosondes and Radio Acoustic Sounding Systems (RASS) are compared to assess the utility of the RASS technique for meteorological studies. The agreement is generally excellent; rms temperature differences are about 1.0°C for comparisons during a variety of meteorological conditions. Observations taken under ideal circumstances indicate that a precision of about 0.2°C is achievable with the RASS technique. A processor being designed for RASS should allow routine temperature measurements approaching this precision.

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Yann Blanchard
,
Jacques Pelon
,
Edwin W. Eloranta
,
Kenneth P. Moran
,
Julien Delanoë
, and
Geneviève Sèze

Abstract

Active remote sensing instruments such as lidar and radar allow one to accurately detect the presence of clouds and give information on their vertical structure and phase. To better address cloud radiative impact over the Arctic area, a combined analysis based on lidar and radar ground-based and A-Train satellite measurements was carried out to evaluate the efficiency of cloud detection, as well as cloud type and vertical distribution, over the Eureka station (80°N, 86°W) between June 2006 and May 2010. Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) and CloudSat data were first compared with independent ground-based cloud measurements. Seasonal and monthly trends from independent observations were found to be similar among all datasets except when compared with the weather station observations because of the large reported fraction of ice crystals suspended in the lower troposphere in winter. Further investigations focused on satellite observations that are collocated in space and time with ground-based data. Cloud fraction occurrences from ground-based instruments correlated well with both CALIPSO operational products and combined CALIPSOCloudSat retrievals, with a hit rate of 85%. The hit rate was only 77% for CloudSat products. The misdetections were mainly attributed to 1) undetected low-level clouds as a result of sensitivity loss and 2) missed clouds because of the distance between the satellite track and the station. The spaceborne lidar–radar synergy was found to be essential to have a complete picture of the cloud vertical profile down to 2 km. Errors are quantified and discussed.

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Kenneth P. Moran
,
Brooks E. Martner
,
M. J. Post
,
Robert A. Kropfli
,
David C. Welsh
, and
Kevin B. Widener

A new millimeter-wave cloud radar (MMCR) has been designed to provide detailed, long-term observations of nonprecipitating and weakly precipitating clouds at Cloud and Radiation Testbed (CART) sites of the Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program. Scientific requirements included excellent sensitivity and vertical resolution to detect weak and thin multiple layers of ice and liquid water clouds over the sites and long-term, unattended operations in remote locales. In response to these requirements, the innovative radar design features a vertically pointing, single-polarization, Doppler system operating at 35 GHz (Ka band). It uses a low-peak-power transmitter for long-term reliability and high-gain antenna and pulse-compressed waveforms to maximize sensitivity and resolution. The radar uses the same kind of signal processor as that used in commercial wind profilers. The first MMCR began operations at the CART in northern Oklahoma in late 1996 and has operated continuously there for thousands of hours. It routinely provides remarkably detailed images of the ever-changing cloud structure and kinematics over this densely instrumented site. Examples of the data are presented. The radar measurements will greatly improve quantitative documentation of cloud conditions over the CART sites and will bolster ARM research to understand how clouds impact climate through their effects on radiative transfer. Millimeter-wave radars such as the MMCR also have potential applications in the fields of aviation weather, weather modification, and basic cloud physics research.

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Pavlos Kollias
,
Bruce A. Albrecht
,
Eugene E. Clothiaux
,
Mark A. Miller
,
Karen L. Johnson
, and
Kenneth P. Moran

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (ARM) program operates millimeter-wavelength cloud radars (MMCRs) in several specific locations within different climatological regimes. These vertically pointing cloud profiling radars supply the three most important Doppler spectrum moment estimates, which are the radar reflectivity (or zero moment), the mean Doppler velocity (or first moment), and the Doppler spectrum width (or second moment), as a function of time and height. The ARM MMCR Doppler moment estimates form the basis of a number of algorithms for retrieving cloud microphysical and radiative properties. The retrieval algorithms are highly sensitive to the quality and accuracy of the MMCR Doppler moment estimates. The significance of these sensitivities should not be underestimated, because the inherent physical variability of clouds, instrument-induced noise, and sampling strategy limitations all potentially introduce errors into the Doppler moment estimates. In this article, the accuracies of the first three Doppler moment estimates from the ARM MMCRs are evaluated for a set of typical cloud conditions from the three DOE ARM program sites. Results of the analysis suggest that significant errors in the Doppler moment estimates are possible in the current configurations of the ARM MMCRs. In particular, weakly reflecting clouds with low signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs), as well as turbulent clouds with nonzero updraft and downdraft velocities that are coupled with high SNR, are shown to produce degraded Doppler moment estimates in the current ARM MMCR operational mode processing strategies. Analysis of the Doppler moment estimates and MMCR receiver noise characteristics suggests that the introduction of a set of quality control criteria is necessary for identifying periods of degraded receiver performance that leads to larger uncertainties in the Doppler moment estimates. Moreover, the temporal sampling of the ARM MMCRs was found to be insufficient for representing the actual dynamical states in many types of clouds, especially boundary layer clouds. New digital signal processors (DSPs) are currently being developed for the ARM MMCRs. The findings presented in this study will be used in the design of a new set of operational strategies for the ARM MMCRs once they have been upgraded with the new DSPs.

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Eugene E. Clothiaux
,
Thomas P. Ackerman
,
Gerald G. Mace
,
Kenneth P. Moran
,
Roger T. Marchand
,
Mark A. Miller
, and
Brooks E. Martner

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program is deploying sensitive, millimeter-wave cloud radars at its Cloud and Radiation Test Bed (CART) sites in Oklahoma, Alaska, and the tropical western Pacific Ocean. The radars complement optical devices, including a Belfort or Vaisala laser ceilometer and a micropulse lidar, in providing a comprehensive source of information on the vertical distribution of hydrometeors overhead at the sites. An algorithm is described that combines data from these active remote sensors to produce an objective determination of hydrometeor height distributions and estimates of their radar reflectivities, vertical velocities, and Doppler spectral widths, which are optimized for accuracy. These data provide fundamental information for retrieving cloud microphysical properties and assessing the radiative effects of clouds on climate. The algorithm is applied to nine months of data from the CART site in Oklahoma for initial evaluation. Much of the algorithm’s calculations deal with merging and optimizing data from the radar’s four sequential operating modes, which have differing advantages and limitations, including problems resulting from range sidelobes, range aliasing, and coherent averaging. Two of the modes use advanced phase-coded pulse compression techniques to yield approximately 10 and 15 dB more sensitivity than is available from the two conventional pulse modes. Comparison of cloud-base heights from the Belfort ceilometer and the micropulse lidar confirms small biases found in earlier studies, but recent information about the ceilometer brings the agreement to within 20–30 m. Merged data of the radar’s modes were found to miss approximately 5.9% of the clouds detected by the laser systems. Using data from only the radar’s two less-sensitive conventional pulse modes would increase the missed detections to 22%–34%. A significant remaining problem is that the radar’s lower-altitude data are often contaminated with echoes from nonhydrometeor targets, such as insects.

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Pavlos Kollias
,
Mark A. Miller
,
Edward P. Luke
,
Karen L. Johnson
,
Eugene E. Clothiaux
,
Kenneth P. Moran
,
Kevin B. Widener
, and
Bruce A. Albrecht

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program operates millimeter-wavelength cloud radars in several climatologically distinct regions. The digital signal processors for these radars were recently upgraded and allow for enhancements in the operational parameters running on them. Recent evaluations of millimeter-wavelength cloud radar signal processing performance relative to the range of cloud dynamical and microphysical conditions encountered at the ARM Program sites have indicated that improvements are necessary, including significant improvement in temporal resolution (i.e., less than 1 s for dwell and 2 s for dwell and processing), wider Nyquist velocities, operational dealiasing of the recorded spectra, removal of pulse compression while sampling the boundary layer, and continuous recording of Doppler spectra. A new set of millimeter-wavelength cloud radar operational modes that incorporate these enhancements is presented. A significant change in radar sampling is the introduction of an uneven mode sequence with 50% of the sampling time dedicated to the lower atmosphere, allowing for detailed characterization of boundary layer clouds. The changes in the operational modes have a substantial impact on the postprocessing algorithms that are used to extract cloud information from the radar data. New methods for postprocessing of recorded Doppler spectra are presented that result in more accurate identification of radar clutter (e.g., insects) and extraction of turbulence and microphysical information. Results of recent studies on the error characteristics of derived Doppler moments are included so that uncertainty estimates are now included with the moments. The microscale data product based on the increased temporal resolution of the millimeter-wavelength cloud radars is described. It contains the number of local maxima in each Doppler spectrum, the Doppler moments of the primary peak, uncertainty estimates for the Doppler moments of the primary peak, Doppler moment shape parameters (e.g., skewness and kurtosis), and clear-air clutter flags.

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Eugene E. Clothiaux
,
Kenneth P. Moran
,
Brooks E. Martner
,
Thomas P. Ackerman
,
Gerald G. Mace
,
Taneil Uttal
,
James H. Mather
,
Kevin B. Widener
,
Mark A. Miller
, and
Daniel J. Rodriguez

Abstract

During the past decade, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, has supported the development of several millimeter-wavelength radars for the study of clouds. This effort has culminated in the development and construction of a 35-GHz radar system by the Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Radar systems based on the NOAA ETL design are now operating at the DOE ARM Southern Great Plains central facility in central Oklahoma and the DOE ARM North Slope of Alaska site near Barrow, Alaska. Operational systems are expected to come online within the next year at the DOE ARM tropical western Pacific sites located at Manus, Papua New Guinea, and Nauru. In order for these radars to detect the full range of atmospheric hydrometeors, specific modes of operation must be implemented on them that are tuned to accurately detect the reflectivities of specific types of hydrometeors. The set of four operational modes that are currently in use on these radars are presented and discussed. The characteristics of the data produced by these modes of operation are also presented in order to illustrate the nature of the cloud products that are, and will be, derived from them on a continuous basis.

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