Continuous Water Vapor Profiles from Operational Ground-Based Active and Passive Remote Sensors

D. D. Turner
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W. F. Feltz
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R. A. Ferrare
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The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program's Southern Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed site central facility near Lamont, Oklahoma, offers unique operational water vapor profiling capabilities, including active and passive remote sensors as well as traditional in situ radiosonde measurements. Remote sensing technologies include an automated Raman lidar and an automated Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI), which are able to retrieve water vapor profiles operationally through the lower troposphere throughout the diurnal cycle. Comparisons of these two water vapor remote sensing methods to each other and to radiosondes over an 8-month period are presented and discussed, highlighting the accuracy and limitations of each method. Additionally, the AERI is able to retrieve profiles of temperature while the Raman lidar is able to retrieve aerosol extinction profiles operationally. These data, coupled with hourly wind profiles from a 915-MHz wind profiler, provide complete specification of the state of the atmosphere in noncloudy skies. Several case studies illustrate the utility of these high temporal resolution measurements in the characterization of mesoscale features within a 3-day time period in which passage of a dryline, warm air advection, and cold front occurred.

*Climate Dynamics Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.

+Space Science and Engineering Center, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

#Atmospheric Sciences Competency, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia.

Corresponding author address: D. D. Turner, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, P.O. Box 999, MS K9-38, Richland, WA 99352. E-mail: dave.turner@pnl.gov

The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program's Southern Great Plains Cloud and Radiation Testbed site central facility near Lamont, Oklahoma, offers unique operational water vapor profiling capabilities, including active and passive remote sensors as well as traditional in situ radiosonde measurements. Remote sensing technologies include an automated Raman lidar and an automated Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI), which are able to retrieve water vapor profiles operationally through the lower troposphere throughout the diurnal cycle. Comparisons of these two water vapor remote sensing methods to each other and to radiosondes over an 8-month period are presented and discussed, highlighting the accuracy and limitations of each method. Additionally, the AERI is able to retrieve profiles of temperature while the Raman lidar is able to retrieve aerosol extinction profiles operationally. These data, coupled with hourly wind profiles from a 915-MHz wind profiler, provide complete specification of the state of the atmosphere in noncloudy skies. Several case studies illustrate the utility of these high temporal resolution measurements in the characterization of mesoscale features within a 3-day time period in which passage of a dryline, warm air advection, and cold front occurred.

*Climate Dynamics Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington.

+Space Science and Engineering Center, Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

#Atmospheric Sciences Competency, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia.

Corresponding author address: D. D. Turner, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, P.O. Box 999, MS K9-38, Richland, WA 99352. E-mail: dave.turner@pnl.gov
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