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«DOE Tech. Memo. ARM VAP-002.1 The ARM Millimeter Wave Cloud Radars (MMCRs) and the Active Remote Sensing of Clouds (ARSCL) Value Added Product (VAP) ...»

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DOE Tech. Memo. ARM VAP-002.1

The ARM Millimeter Wave Cloud Radars (MMCRs)

and the Active Remote Sensing of Clouds (ARSCL)

Value Added Product (VAP)

March 4, 2001

Eugene E. Clothiaux, The Pennsylvania State University

Mark A. Miller, Brookhaven National Laboratory

Robin C. Perez, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

David D. Turner, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Kenneth P. Moran, NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory

Brooks E. Martner, NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory Thomas P. Ackerman, The Pennsylvania State University Gerald G. Mace, The University of Utah Roger T. Marchand, The Pennsylvania State University Kevin B. Widener, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Daniel J. Rodriguez, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Taneil Uttal, NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory James H. Mather, The Pennsylvania State University Connor J. Flynn, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Krista L. Gaustad, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Brian Ermold, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Research, Office of Health and Environmental Research Clothiaux, et al. 2001, DOE Tech. Memo. ARM VAP-002.1 Abstract Over the past decade, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, has supported the development of several millimeter wavelength radars for the study of clouds. This effort has culminated in the development and construction of a 35-GHz radar system by the Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Radar systems based on the NOAA ETL design are now operating at the DOE ARM sites located at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) Central Facility in central Oklahoma, on the islands of Nauru and Manus, Papua New Guinea, in the Tropical Western Pacific (TWP), and at Barrow on the North Slope of Alaska (NSA). These radars have come to be called the Millimeter Wave Cloud Radars (MMCRs). The importance of the MMCRs to the DOE ARM Program’s strategy for remote sensing of clouds is outlined in Section 1.

The MMCRs are designed as a remote sensing tool that can accurately detect almost all of the hydrometeors present in the atmosphere. To illustrate the difficulty of this task, the various types of hydrometeors that can occur in the atmosphere are considered in the context of detection by the MMCRs (Section 1). Having outlined the nature of the remote sensing problem, a discussion ensues of the NOAA ETL design of the MMCR (Section 2). Next, we present the operational modes of the MMCRs (Section

3) and discuss them in some detail to illustrate the nature of the cloud products that are, and will be, derived from the MMCRs on a continuous basis.

The first set of productsderived from MMCR data is based on detection of the significant returns in the data and subsequent classification of these detections as due either to clutter or to atmospheric hydrometeors. From these detections one can identify, as a function of time and height, regions of the atmosphere that contain hydrometeors. Using radar to conclusively identify regions of the atmosphere that do not contain any hydrometeors, such as 4 pm radius cloud drops far from the radar, is generally not possible. With these limitations in mind, one can use significant radar detections, together with radar Doppler moments and/or spectra, lidar and passive radiation measurements, to estimate geometric boundaries of clouds, cloud water contents, and cloud particle sizes.

One effort for identifying significant returns in radar data and combining these detections with lidar estimates of cloud base height is called the Active Remote Sensing of CLouds (ARSCL) value added procedure (VAP). The outputs of this procedure are time-height maps of radar reflectivity, radar Doppler velocity, radar Doppler spectral width, and cloud base height estimates from laser ceilometers and Micropulse Lidars (MPLs). These products allow the geometric extent of clouds to be mapped and provide information on the distribution, size, and motions of the particles within cloud. The important elements of the ARSCL VAP are discussed in Section 4 and the products output by it are documented and illustrated in Sections 5 and 6. A reader who understands the contents of Sections 3 and 4 will be in a position to interpret the meaning, range of validity, and limitations of the ARSCL VAP and its products.

The document ends with discussions of a few data quality issues (Section 7), of how to retrieve data from the archive (Section 8), and of some outstanding problems (Section 9). Appendices A1, A2, and A3 contain the ARSCL VAP input datastreams, flow chart, and product variable lists, respectively.

iii Clothiaux, et al. 2001, DOE Tech. Memo. ARM VAP-002.1

To facilitate the discussion in this report, we make use of three articles on the MMCRs that are now in the peer-reviewed literature. Moran et al. (1998) give a general overview of the MMCRs, providing many illustrations of the cloud types that the MMCR was designed to study. The original four modes presented in Moran et al. (1998) are refined by Clothiaux et al. (1999), who both attempt to justify the slight changes to the original modes of Moran et al. (1998) and list the properties of the modes currently implemented at the ARM sites. Much of the discussion in Section 3 of this report attempts to present information necessary to understand all aspects of the description in Clothiaux et al. (1999). Finally, Clothiaux et al. (2000) contains a detailed description of the ARSCL VAP and its outputs.

For readers familiar with radar processing issues, Sections 5 and 6 and Appendices Al, A2, and A3 are perhaps of the greatest interest. In these parts of the document we describe the datastreams and variables produced by the ARSCL VAP (Section 5), those variables that are imaged (Section 6), ARSCL VAP input datastreams (Appendix Al), ARSCL VAP processing steps (Appendix A2), and the locations of the output variables in the datastreams (Appendix A3). Finally, Section 7 contains a list of known problems and should be inspected from time to time. Under the Derived Data Products link on the main ARM Web site (i.e., http://www.arm.gov), one can access the ARSCL VAP home page that contains quality updates and a bulletin board with an ongoing discussion of questions and problems.

–  –  –

1. Introduction

2. MMCR System Components and Functional Characteristics

2.1 Un-Interruptible Power Source

2.2 Interface Chassis

2.3 Intermediate Frequency Receiver/Modulator Chassis

2.4 Radio Frequency Coherent Up/Down Converter

2.5 Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier

2.6 Antenna

2.7 Transmit/Receive/Calibration Waveguide Sections

2.8 Pulse Controller

2.9 Low Noise Pre-Amplifier

2.10 Intermediate Frequency Receiver Calibration

2.11 Multi-Channel System Monitor

2.12 Radar Computer

2.13 Data Management Computer

2.14 Data Tape System and Disk File Structure

3. MMCR Operational Modes: Tutorial

3.1 Operational Parameters of the ARM MMCRs

3.2 Operational Modes of ARM MMCRs: Philosophy

3.3 Operational Modes of ARM MMCRs: Characteristics

4. MMCR Data Processing: ARSCL VAP

5. ARSCL VAP: Product Description

5.1 Datastream mplsmask1cloth

5.2 Datastream mplcmask1cloth

5.3 Datastream arscl1cloth

5.4 Datastream arsclbnd1cloth

5.5 Datastream arsclcbh1cloth

5.6 Datastream mmcrmode__v___

6. ARSCL VAP: Product Images

6.1 Datastream blcprof lidar_amplitude

6.2 Datastream blcprof clearcloud

6.3 Datastream vceil25k backscatterbase

6.4 Datastream vceil25k backscatternobase

6.5 Datastream vceil25k clearcloud

6.6 Datastream mwrlos vapliqwetwindowxy

6.7 Datastream mwrlos clearcloud

v Clothiaux, et al. 2001, DOE Tech. Memo. ARM VAP-002.1

6.8 Datastream mpl background

6.9 Datastream mpl backscatter

6.10 Datastream mpl backscatterBL

6.11 Datastream mpl clearcloud

6.12 Datastream mplcbh1scott clearcloud

6.13 Datastream mplnor1camp backscatter

6.14 Datastream mplnor1camp cloudmask

6.15 Datastream mplnor1camp clearcloud

6.16 Datastream mplsmask1cloth SigniMaskMplCloth

6.17 Datastream mplcmask1cloth C1oudMaskMplCloth

6.18 Datastream arscl1cloth C1oudMaskMplCamp

6.19 Datastream arscl1cloth C1oudMaskMplCloth

6.20 Datastream arscl1cloth LaserCloudBases

6.21 Datastream arscl1cloth Reflectivity

6.22 Datastream arscl1cloth ReflectivityNoClutter

6.23 Datastream arscl1cloth ReflectivityBestEstimate

6.24 Datastream arscl1cloth MeanDopplerVelocity

6.25 Datastream arscl1cloth SpectralWidth

6.26 Datastream arscl1cloth ModeId

6.27 Datastream arscl1cloth SignaltoNoiseRatio

6.28 Datastream arscl1cloth qc_RadarArtifacts

6.29 Datastream arscl1cloth qc_ReflectivityClutterFlag

6.30 Datastream arsclbnd1cloth CloudLayerHeightsCloth

6.31 Datastream arsclbnd1cloth qc_CloudLayerHeightsCloth

6.32 Datastream arsclcbh1cloth LaserCloudBases

6.33 Datastream mmcrmode__v___1cloth Reflectivity

6.34 Datastream mmcrmode__v___1cloth ReflectivityBL

6.35 Datastream mmcrmode__v___1cloth qc_RadarArtifacts

6.36 Datastream mmcrmode__v___1cloth qc_ReflectivityClutterFlag

6.37 Datastream mmcrmode__v___1cloth qc_ReflectivityClutterFlagBL

7. ARSCL VAP: Data Quality Issues

7.1 Quality Control Flags

7.2 MMCR Calibration

7.3 SGP Belfort Laser Ceilometer Height Offsets

7.4 NSA Micropulse Lidar Height Offsets

8. ARSCL VAP: Retrieving Data from the ARM Archive

9. Conclusions

10. Acknowledgements

11. References

–  –  –

Appendix A1 - ARSCL VAP Input Datastreams

Appendix A2 - ARSCL VAP Flow Chart

Appendix A3 - ARSCL VAP Product Datastreams


1 Block diagram of the NOAA ETL-designed ARM MMCR

2 Dependencies between the operational parameters of the MMCR

3 Operational parameters for the ARM MMCRs

4 Schematic diagram illustrating the important steps in MMCR signal processing, from total particle backscatter cross section per unit volume to a power density spectrum generated from the MMCR “I” and “Q” voltage time series

5 Radar resolution volumes from which I and Q voltage sample pairs are generated depend upon the sampling strategy setup in the radar receiver

A1 Datastream inputs to the ARSCL VAP

A2 Flow chart of the ARSCL VAP

–  –  –

1. Introduction To fully understand the radiative impact of clouds on the climate system, both the macrophysical properties (i.e., horizontal and vertical distributions) and microphysical properties (i.e., particle shapes, sizes, and number concentrations) of clouds must be known. Whereas the horizontal distribution of clouds over the earth is presently characterized by passive radiometry from satellites, mapping the vertical distribution of clouds is currently best-achieved using lidars and radars. Lidars are able to detect all types of cloud particles in those circumstances when the lidar beam is able to penetrate to the location of the cloud particles. However, complete extinction of a lidar beam during heavy overcast, or a period with multiple cloud layers, is not uncommon. Millimeter wavelength radar observations are a natural complement to collocated lidar observations since radars operating at millimeter wavelengths can detect most cloud particles, and a millimeter wavelength radar beam generally penetrates all cloud types, except those that occur during periods of heavy rain. Radars operating at 35- and 94-GHz are the most utilized since the attenuation of the beam as a result of absorption by oxygen and water vapor is at a local minimum near these frequencies.

To provide the capability of mapping the vertical distribution of clouds in at least a few different climate regimes, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program contracted the Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to build a number of millimeter wavelength radars. The completely automated, continuously operating, vertically pointing, single-polarization, Doppler radars developed by NOAA ETL for the DOE ARM Program operate at a frequency of 34.86 GHz (Moran et al.

1998). In the DOE ARM nomenclature, these radars are referred to as the Millimeter Wave Cloud Radars (MMCRs). Radar systems based on the NOAA ETL design are now operating at the DOE ARM sites located at the Southern Great Plains (SGP) central facility in central Oklahoma, on the islands of Nauru and Manus, Papua New Guinea, in the Tropical Western Pacific (TWP), and at Barrow on the North Slope of Alaska (NSA).

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