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Daniela Nowak, Dominique Ruffieux, Judith L. Agnew, and Laurent Vuilleumier

Abstract

The performance of the boundary determination of fog and low stratiform cloud layers with data from a frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) cloud radar and a Vaisala ceilometer is assessed. During wintertime stable episodes, fog and low stratiform cloud layers often occur in the Swiss Plateau, where the aerological station of Payerne, Switzerland, is located. During the international COST 720 Temperature, Humidity, and Cloud (TUC) profiling experiment in winter 2003/04, both a cloud radar and a ceilometer were operated in parallel, among other profiling instruments. Human eye observations (“synops”) and temperature and humidity profiles from radiosoundings were used as reference for the validation. In addition, two case studies were chosen to demonstrate the possibilities and limitations of such ground-based remote sensing systems in determining low clouds. In these case studies the cloud boundaries determined by ceilometer and cloud radar were furthermore compared with wind profiler signal-to-noise ratio time series. Under dry conditions, cloud-base and -top detection was possible in 59% and 69% of the cases for low stratus clouds and fog situations, respectively. When cases with any form of precipitation were included, performances were reduced with detection rates of 41% and 63%, respectively. The combination of ceilometer and cloud radar has the potential for providing the base and top of a cloud layer with optimal efficiency in the continuous operational mode. The cloud-top height determination by the cloud radar was compared with cloud-top heights detected using radiosounding humidity profiles. The average height difference between the radiosounding and cloud radar determination of the cloud upper boundary is 53 ± 32 m.

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Dominik Michel, Rolf Philipona, Christian Ruckstuhl, Roland Vogt, and Laurent Vuilleumier

Abstract

Net radiation flux in correlation with surface energy budget, snowmelt, glacier ice balance, and forest or agricultural flux exchange investigations is measured in numerous field experiments. Instrument costs and energy consumption versus performance and uncertainty of net radiation instruments has been widely discussed. Here the authors analyze and show performance and uncertainty of two Kipp and Zonen CNR1 net radiometers, which were compared to high standard reference radiation instruments measuring individual shortwave and longwave downward and upward flux components. The intercomparison was aimed at investigating the performance of the radiometers under different climatological conditions and was made over one year at the midlatitude Baseline Surface Radiation Network (BSRN) station in Payerne, Switzerland (490 MSL). Of the two CNR1 radiometers tested, one was installed in a ventilation and heating system, whereas the other was mounted without ventilation and heating. Uncertainties of the different flux components were found to be larger for shortwave than longwave radiation and larger for downward than upward components. Using the single sensitivity coefficient provided by the manufacturer, which for CNR1 radiometers conditions using all four sensors, rather large root-mean-square differences between 2 and 14 W m−2 were measured for the individual components for hourly averages and between 2 and 12 W m−2 for daily averages. The authors then performed a field calibration, comparing each individual sensor to the reference instrument for one particular day. With the individual field calibration the uncertainty of hourly averages was reduced significantly for all components of the ventilated and heated instrument. For the unventilated CNR1 uncertainties could not be reduced significantly for all sensors. The total net radiation uncertainty of both CNR1 is rather large with up to 26% on daily averages (∼10 W m−2) for the original sensitivity coefficients and without field calibration. Only with the field calibration and for the ventilated and heated CNR1 net radiometer is an uncertainty of 10% of the daily totals of total net radiation reached, as claimed by the manufacturer.

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