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Title: ARM: MPL: cloud base heights using the Scott/Spinhirne algorithm

MPL: cloud base heights using the Scott/Spinhirne algorithm
Publication Date:
DOE Contract Number:
Product Type:
Research Org(s):
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Archive, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (US)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
54 Environmental Sciences; Cloud base height
OSTI Identifier:
  1. ARM focuses on obtaining continuous measurements—supplemented by field campaigns—and providing data products that promote the advancement of climate models. ARM data include routine data products, value-added products (VAPs), field campaign data, complementary external data products from collaborating programs, and data contributed by ARM principal investigators for use by the scientific community. Data quality reports, graphical displays of data availability/quality, and data plots are also available from the ARM Data Center. Serving users worldwide, the ARM Data Center collects and archives approximately 20 terabytes of data per month. Datastreams are generally available for download within 48 hours.
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  1. Surface synoptic weather reports from ships and land stations worldwide were processed to produce a global cloud climatology which includes: total cloud cover, the amount and frequency of occurrence of nine cloud types within three levels of the troposphere, the frequency of occurrence of clearmore » sky and of precipitation, the base heights of low clouds, and the non-overlapped amounts of middle and high clouds. Synoptic weather reports are made every three hours; the cloud information in a report is obtained visually by human observers. The reports used here cover the period 1971-96 for land and 1954-2008 for ocean. This digital archive provides multi-year monthly, seasonal, and annual averages in 5x5-degree grid boxes (or 10x10-degree boxes for some quantities over the ocean). Daytime and nighttime averages, as well as the diurnal average (average of day and night), are given. Nighttime averages were computed using only those reports that met an "illuminance criterion" (i.e., made under adequate moonlight or twilight), thus minimizing the "night-detection bias" and making possible the determination of diurnal cycles and nighttime trends for cloud types. The phase and amplitude of the first harmonic of both the diurnal cycle and the annual cycle are given for the various cloud types. Cloud averages for individual years are also given for the ocean for each of 4 seasons, and for each of the 12 months (daytime-only averages for the months). [Individual years for land are not gridded, but are given for individual stations in a companion data set, CDIAC's NDP-026D).] This analysis used 185 million reports from 5388 weather stations on continents and islands, and 50 million reports from ships; these reports passed a series of quality-control checks. This analysis updates (and in most ways supercedes) the previous cloud climatology constructed by the authors in the 1980s. Many of the long-term averages described here are mapped on the University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Sciences Web site. The Online Cloud Atlas containing NDP-026E data is available via the University of Washington. « less
  2. Surface synoptic weather reports for 39 years have been processed to provide a climatology of clouds for each of over 5000 land-based weather stations with long periods of record both day and night. For each station, this digital archive includes: multi-year annual, seasonal and monthlymore » averages for day and night separately; seasonal and monthly averages by year; averages for eight times per day; and analyses of the first harmonic for the annual and diurnal cycles. Averages are given for total cloud cover, clear-sky frequency, and 9 cloud types: 5 in the low level (fog, St, Sc, Cu, Cb), 3 in the middle level (Ns, As, Ac) and one in the high level (all cirriform clouds combined). Cloud amounts and frequencies of occurrence are given for all types. In addition, non-overlapped amounts are given for middle and high cloud types, and average base heights are given for low cloud types. Nighttime averages were obtained by using only those reports that met an "illuminance criterion" (i.e., made under adequate moonlight or twilight), thus making possible the determination of diurnal cycles and nighttime trends for cloud types.The authors have also produced an online, gridded atlas of the cloud observations contained in NDP-026D. The Online Cloud Atlas containing NDP-026D data is available via the University of Washington. « less
  3. With some data from as early as 1930, global long-term monthly and/or seasonal total cloud cover, cloud type amounts and frequencies of occurrence, low cloud base heights, harmonic analyses of annual and diurnal cycles, interannual variations and trends, and cloud type co-occurrences have been compiledmore » and presented in two atlases (Warren et al. 1988, 1990). These data were derived from land and ship synoptic weather reports from the "SPOT" archive of the Fleet Numerical Oceanography Center (FNOC) and from Release 1 of the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (COADS) for the years 1930-1979. The data are in 12 files (one containing latitude, longitude, land-fraction, and number of land stations for grid boxes; four containing total cloud, cloud types, harmonic analyses, and interannual variations and trends for land; four containing total cloud, cloud types, harmonic analyses, and interannual variations and trends for oceans; one containing first cloud analyses for the first year of the GARP Global Experiment (FGGE); one containing cloud-type co-occurrences for land and oceans; and one containing a FORTRAN program to read and produce maps). « less
  4. The motivation for developing this product was to use the Dong et al. 1998 method to retrieve cloud microphysical properties, such as cloud droplet effective radius, cloud droplets number concentration, and optical thickness. These retrieved properties have been used to validate the satellite retrieval, andmore » evaluate the climate simulations and reanalyses. We had been using this method to retrieve cloud microphysical properties over ARM SGP and NSA sites. We also modified the method for the AMF at Shouxian, China and some IOPs, e.g. ARM IOP at SGP in March, 2000. The ARSCL data from ARM data archive over the SGP and NSA have been used to determine the cloud boundary and cloud phase. For these ARM permanent sites, the ARSCL data was developed based on MMCR measurements, however, there were no data available at the Azores field campaign. We followed the steps to generate this derived product and also include the MPLCMASK cloud retrievals to determine the most accurate cloud boundaries, including the thin cirrus clouds that WACR may under-detect. We use these as input to retrieve the cloud microphysical properties. Due to the different temporal resolutions of the derived cloud boundary heights product and the cloud properties product, we submit them as two separate netcdf files. « less
  5. A cloud properties and radiative heating rates dataset is presented where cloud properties retrieved using lidar and radar observations are input into a radiative transfer model to compute radiative fluxes and heating rates at three ARM sites located in the Tropical Western Pacific (TWP) region.more » The cloud properties retrieval is a conditional retrieval that applies various retrieval techniques depending on the available data, that is if lidar, radar or both instruments detect cloud. This Combined Remote Sensor Retrieval Algorithm (CombRet) produces vertical profiles of liquid or ice water content (LWC or IWC), droplet effective radius (re), ice crystal generalized effective size (Dge), cloud phase, and cloud boundaries. The algorithm was compared with 3 other independent algorithms to help estimate the uncertainty in the cloud properties, fluxes, and heating rates (Comstock et al. 2013). The dataset is provided at 2 min temporal and 90 m vertical resolution. The current dataset is applied to time periods when the MMCR (Millimeter Cloud Radar) version of the ARSCL (Active Remotely-Sensed Cloud Locations) Value Added Product (VAP) is available. The MERGESONDE VAP is utilized where temperature and humidity profiles are required. Future additions to this dataset will utilize the new KAZR instrument and its associated VAPs. « less