Calibration of the 2007–2017 record of Atmospheric Radiation Measurements cloud radar observations using CloudSat
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (ARM) facility has been at the forefront of millimeter-wavelength radar development and operations since the late 1990s. The operational performance of the ARM cloud radar network is very high; however, the calibration of the historical record is not well established. Here, a well-characterized spaceborne 94 GHz cloud profiling radar (CloudSat) is used to characterize the calibration of the ARM cloud radars. The calibration extends from 2007 to 2017 and includes both fixed and mobile deployments. Collectively, over 43 years of ARM profiling cloud radar observations are compared to CloudSat and the calibration offsets are reported as a function of time using a sliding window of 6 months. The study also provides the calibration offsets for each operating mode of the ARM cloud radars. Overall, significant calibration offsets are found that exceed the uncertainty of the technique (1–2 dB). The findings of this study are critical to past, ongoing, and planned studies of cloud and precipitation and should assist the DOE ARM to build a legacy decadal ground-based cloud radar dataset for global climate model validation.