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Title: Final Technical Report: Moving ASR Cloud Microphysical Retrievals Beyond the Vertical Column

Abstract

Clouds of all types play important roles in atmospheric heating, surface heating and emission of radiation, hence energy, to space. Clouds not only affect atmospheric heating via their impacts on solar and terrestrial radiation, they also release kinetic energy to the atmosphere when they form and they extract kinetic energy from the atmosphere when they evaporate. To understand the impacts of clouds on weather and climate, one must be able to make accurate observations of the amount of water associated with them and the impact of this water on atmospheric and surface heating rates. One important cloud type is liquid water clouds. Liquid clouds are often found in the boundary layers of Earth at altitudes from just above the surface to approximately 2000 m above it, at a variety of temperatures, including temperatures below the freezing point of liquid water (0 °C). As a result, they are important constituents over the world’s oceans as well as over cold, ice-covered surfaces such as in the Arctic. Observationally estimating the total amount of liquid contained in a column through a liquid water cloud can now be accomplished to acceptable accuracies (except for the thinnest, lowest liquid containing clouds) using instruments called passivemore » microwave radiometers. However, observationally determining the spatial distribution of liquid within these columns has proven to be difficult. The focus of this project was on the application of two radars operating at two different frequencies to retrieve the distribution of liquid water within columns passing through liquid water clouds. Motivation in this project for using two different radars operating at different frequencies is that as overlapping (in space) beams from the two radars pass through the same column of liquid water cloud absorption of power from one beam (the 94-GHz beam) is greater than absorption of power from the other beam (the 35-GHz beam). Therefore, the difference in returned powers between the two radar beams with distance from the radars is proportional to the amount of liquid water that the two beams have passed through. Therefore, one can use the differences in power between the two beams with distance through a liquid water cloud to determine the distribution of liquid water throughout the cloud. The two radars used in this study are the Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program Ka-band Scanning ARM Cloud Radar (Ka-SACR) and the W-band Scanning ARM Cloud Radar (W-SACR). When this projected started in 2013, the Ka- and W-band SACRs were new technology, state-of-the-art sensors. To put together a sufficiently diverse and big set of test cases for the study, data from the SACRs deployed to NSA, SGP, TCAP and MAGIC were used, leading to a test set composed of 65 hours of suitable data spread over approximately 17 case study days. Using the Ka- and W-band SACR data from the case study periods, vertical distributions of liquid water content through liquid water clouds were retrieved. Because there are no other data sets with which to compare the retrievals, distributions of liquid water through a column were summed and compared to the total amounts of liquid water obtained by retrievals applied to passive microwave radiometer observations. The total amounts of liquid water (in units of millimeters, or the thickness in millimeters of the total liquid water in a vertical column if allowed to pool at the bottom of the column) between the two retrievals agreed to within 0.060 mm with a standard deviation of 0.31 mm, or to within 0.016 mm with a standard deviation of 0.12 mm once outliers were removed. The standard deviation of 0.12 mm was fairly independent of the total amount of liquid water in the clouds, indicating that retrieval errors were larger for clouds with smaller amounts of liquid in them. Errors in the retrieved total amounts of liquid were also found to be sensitive to the a priori information that was fed into the retrieval approach. Overall, standard deviations of 0.12 mm are sufficient for some cloud studies but for radiation studies standard deviations on the order of 0.02 mm need to be achieved for clouds with the lowest amounts of liquid water. Many modifications to the retrieval approach were tested subsequently in an attempt to reduce the standard deviations relative to the radiometer retrievals below 0.12 mm but none of them worked reliably. We decided to wait until the DOE ARM Program deployed its second generation SACR2s to its NSA and ENA sites for further retrieval evaluation. The SACR2s were engineered to better synchronize data between the Ka- and W-band radars, reducing potential sources of noise for radar retrieval of liquid water distributions within clouds. The SACR2s have improved in reliability recently and the system deployed to ENA is best positioned to provide the data to advance research on this path. This will be an ongoing research activity beyond the project because of the promise in SACR2 data from the DOE ARM ENA Facility.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1429861
Report Number(s):
DOE-PSU-0008612
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0008612
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: Laughlin, C. D., 2014: Evaluation of a dual-frequency radar cloud liquid water content retrieval algorithm. Master’s Degree, The Pennsylvania State University.Access: https://etda.libraries.psu.edu/files/final_submissions/10014
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; cloud; radar; liquid water content

Citation Formats

Clothiaux, Eugene Edmund. Final Technical Report: Moving ASR Cloud Microphysical Retrievals Beyond the Vertical Column. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1429861.
Clothiaux, Eugene Edmund. Final Technical Report: Moving ASR Cloud Microphysical Retrievals Beyond the Vertical Column. United States. doi:10.2172/1429861.
Clothiaux, Eugene Edmund. Tue . "Final Technical Report: Moving ASR Cloud Microphysical Retrievals Beyond the Vertical Column". United States. doi:10.2172/1429861. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1429861.
@article{osti_1429861,
title = {Final Technical Report: Moving ASR Cloud Microphysical Retrievals Beyond the Vertical Column},
author = {Clothiaux, Eugene Edmund},
abstractNote = {Clouds of all types play important roles in atmospheric heating, surface heating and emission of radiation, hence energy, to space. Clouds not only affect atmospheric heating via their impacts on solar and terrestrial radiation, they also release kinetic energy to the atmosphere when they form and they extract kinetic energy from the atmosphere when they evaporate. To understand the impacts of clouds on weather and climate, one must be able to make accurate observations of the amount of water associated with them and the impact of this water on atmospheric and surface heating rates. One important cloud type is liquid water clouds. Liquid clouds are often found in the boundary layers of Earth at altitudes from just above the surface to approximately 2000 m above it, at a variety of temperatures, including temperatures below the freezing point of liquid water (0 °C). As a result, they are important constituents over the world’s oceans as well as over cold, ice-covered surfaces such as in the Arctic. Observationally estimating the total amount of liquid contained in a column through a liquid water cloud can now be accomplished to acceptable accuracies (except for the thinnest, lowest liquid containing clouds) using instruments called passive microwave radiometers. However, observationally determining the spatial distribution of liquid within these columns has proven to be difficult. The focus of this project was on the application of two radars operating at two different frequencies to retrieve the distribution of liquid water within columns passing through liquid water clouds. Motivation in this project for using two different radars operating at different frequencies is that as overlapping (in space) beams from the two radars pass through the same column of liquid water cloud absorption of power from one beam (the 94-GHz beam) is greater than absorption of power from the other beam (the 35-GHz beam). Therefore, the difference in returned powers between the two radar beams with distance from the radars is proportional to the amount of liquid water that the two beams have passed through. Therefore, one can use the differences in power between the two beams with distance through a liquid water cloud to determine the distribution of liquid water throughout the cloud. The two radars used in this study are the Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program Ka-band Scanning ARM Cloud Radar (Ka-SACR) and the W-band Scanning ARM Cloud Radar (W-SACR). When this projected started in 2013, the Ka- and W-band SACRs were new technology, state-of-the-art sensors. To put together a sufficiently diverse and big set of test cases for the study, data from the SACRs deployed to NSA, SGP, TCAP and MAGIC were used, leading to a test set composed of 65 hours of suitable data spread over approximately 17 case study days. Using the Ka- and W-band SACR data from the case study periods, vertical distributions of liquid water content through liquid water clouds were retrieved. Because there are no other data sets with which to compare the retrievals, distributions of liquid water through a column were summed and compared to the total amounts of liquid water obtained by retrievals applied to passive microwave radiometer observations. The total amounts of liquid water (in units of millimeters, or the thickness in millimeters of the total liquid water in a vertical column if allowed to pool at the bottom of the column) between the two retrievals agreed to within 0.060 mm with a standard deviation of 0.31 mm, or to within 0.016 mm with a standard deviation of 0.12 mm once outliers were removed. The standard deviation of 0.12 mm was fairly independent of the total amount of liquid water in the clouds, indicating that retrieval errors were larger for clouds with smaller amounts of liquid in them. Errors in the retrieved total amounts of liquid were also found to be sensitive to the a priori information that was fed into the retrieval approach. Overall, standard deviations of 0.12 mm are sufficient for some cloud studies but for radiation studies standard deviations on the order of 0.02 mm need to be achieved for clouds with the lowest amounts of liquid water. Many modifications to the retrieval approach were tested subsequently in an attempt to reduce the standard deviations relative to the radiometer retrievals below 0.12 mm but none of them worked reliably. We decided to wait until the DOE ARM Program deployed its second generation SACR2s to its NSA and ENA sites for further retrieval evaluation. The SACR2s were engineered to better synchronize data between the Ka- and W-band radars, reducing potential sources of noise for radar retrieval of liquid water distributions within clouds. The SACR2s have improved in reliability recently and the system deployed to ENA is best positioned to provide the data to advance research on this path. This will be an ongoing research activity beyond the project because of the promise in SACR2 data from the DOE ARM ENA Facility.},
doi = {10.2172/1429861},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}