Evaluation of gridded scanning ARM cloud radar reflectivity observations and vertical doppler velocity retrievals
The scanning Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) cloud radars (SACRs) provide continuous atmospheric observations aspiring to capture the 3-D cloud-scale structure. Sampling clouds in 3-D is challenging due to their temporal–spatial scales, the need to sample the sky at high elevations and cloud radar limitations. Thus, a suggested scan strategy is to repetitively slice the atmosphere from horizon to horizon as clouds advect over the radar (Cross-Wind Range-Height Indicator – CW-RHI). Here, the processing and gridding of the SACR CW-RHI scans are presented. First, the SACR sample observations from the ARM Southern Great Plains and Cape Cod sites are post-processed (detection mask, gaseous attenuation correction, insect filtering and velocity de-aliasing). The resulting radial Doppler moment fields are then mapped to Cartesian coordinates with time as one of the dimensions. Next the Cartesian-gridded Doppler velocity fields are decomposed into the horizontal wind velocity contribution and the vertical Doppler velocity component. For validation purposes, all gridded and retrieved fields are compared to collocated zenith-pointing ARM cloud radar measurements. We consider that the SACR sensitivity loss with range, the cloud type observed and the research purpose should be considered in determining the gridded domain size. Our results also demonstrate that the gridded SACR observations resolve the main features of low and high stratiform clouds. It is established that the CW-RHI observations complemented with processing techniques could lead to robust 3-D cloud dynamical representations up to 25–30 degrees off zenith. The proposed gridded products are expected to advance our understanding of 3-D cloud morphology, dynamics and anisotropy and lead to more realistic 3-D radiative transfer calculations.