Field Performance of a Spinning-Reflector Microwave Radiometer

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  • 1 Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada system, Reno, Nevada
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Abstract

In the winter of 1986, two microwave radiometers were operated side by side at a high-altitude weather observation site in the central Sierra Nevada for the purpose of comparing measurements in a variety of ambient weather conditions. The instruments continuously recorded measurements of vertically integrated water vapor and liquid water during storms affecting the area. One radiometer was designed with a spinning reflector to shed precipitation particles while the other radiometer's reflector was fixed. Temporal records of the data show periods of wet weather contamination for the fixed reflector radiometer. The absence (presence) of these contaminated periods is mainly explained by the difference in the design of the radiometers. These contaminated periods led to larger standard deviation in the data from the fixed-reflector radiometer and lower correlation coefficients between the two instruments. Correlation coefficients of 0.83 for the liquid and 0.68 for the vapor values were found for the radiometer-radiometer comparisons. When some of the points suspected of contamination were removed, the correlation coefficients improved to 0.87 and 0.71 for the liquid and vapor channels, respectively. The standard deviations were 0.1 mm and 0.12 cm for the liquid and vapor channels, respectively, of the spinning reflector radiometer. For the fixed-reflector design radiometer, a standard deviation of 0.1 mm for the liquid and 0.26 cm for the vapor was found. Comparison of radiometer vapor and rawinsonde precipitable water resulted in a correlation coefficient of 0.97 for the spinning-reflector radiometer and 0.8 for the fixed-reflector radiometer.

Abstract

In the winter of 1986, two microwave radiometers were operated side by side at a high-altitude weather observation site in the central Sierra Nevada for the purpose of comparing measurements in a variety of ambient weather conditions. The instruments continuously recorded measurements of vertically integrated water vapor and liquid water during storms affecting the area. One radiometer was designed with a spinning reflector to shed precipitation particles while the other radiometer's reflector was fixed. Temporal records of the data show periods of wet weather contamination for the fixed reflector radiometer. The absence (presence) of these contaminated periods is mainly explained by the difference in the design of the radiometers. These contaminated periods led to larger standard deviation in the data from the fixed-reflector radiometer and lower correlation coefficients between the two instruments. Correlation coefficients of 0.83 for the liquid and 0.68 for the vapor values were found for the radiometer-radiometer comparisons. When some of the points suspected of contamination were removed, the correlation coefficients improved to 0.87 and 0.71 for the liquid and vapor channels, respectively. The standard deviations were 0.1 mm and 0.12 cm for the liquid and vapor channels, respectively, of the spinning reflector radiometer. For the fixed-reflector design radiometer, a standard deviation of 0.1 mm for the liquid and 0.26 cm for the vapor was found. Comparison of radiometer vapor and rawinsonde precipitable water resulted in a correlation coefficient of 0.97 for the spinning-reflector radiometer and 0.8 for the fixed-reflector radiometer.

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