Development and validation of a supervised machine learning radar Doppler spectra peak-finding algorithm
In many types of clouds, multiple hydrometeor populations can be present at the same time and height. Studying the evolution of these different hydrometeors in a time–height perspective can give valuable information on cloud particle composition and microphysical growth processes. However, as a prerequisite, the number of different hydrometeor types in a certain cloud volume needs to be quantified. This can be accomplished using cloud radar Doppler velocity spectra from profiling cloud radars if the different hydrometeor types have sufficiently different terminal fall velocities to produce individual Doppler spectrum peaks. Here we present a newly developed supervised machine learning radar Doppler spectra peak-finding algorithm (named PEAKO). In this approach, three adjustable parameters (spectrum smoothing span, prominence threshold, and minimum peak width at half-height) are varied to obtain the set of parameters which yields the best agreement of user-classified and machine-marked peaks. The algorithm was developed for Ka-band ARM zenith-pointing radar (KAZR) observations obtained in thick snowfall systems during the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (ARM) mobile facility AMF2 deployment at Hyytiälä, Finland, during the Biogenic Aerosols – Effects on Clouds and Climate (BAECC) field campaign. The performance of PEAKO is evaluated by comparing its results to existing Doppler peak-finding algorithms. The new algorithm consistently identifies Doppler spectra peaks and outperforms other algorithms by reducing noise and increasing temporal and height consistency in detected features. In the future, the PEAKO algorithm will be adapted to other cloud radars and other types of clouds consisting of multiple hydrometeors in the same cloud volume.