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ESRL/PSD Seminar Series

PSD Flash Seminars: Ship-based Observations of Turbulence and Stratocumulus Cloud Microphysics in the SE Pacific Ocean from the VOCALS Field Program

Christopher Fairall
NOAA/ESRL PSD Weather and Climate Physics Branch


The VAMOS (VOCALS) field program involved deployment of several measurement systems based on ships, land and aircraft over the SE Pacific Ocean. The NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown was the primary platform for surface based measurements which included the High Resolution Doppler Lidar (HRDL) and the motion-stabilized 94-GHz cloud Doppler radar (W-band radar). In this paper, the data from the W-band radar will be used to study the turbulent and microphysical structure of the stratocumulus clouds prevalent in the region. The radar data consists of a 3 Hz time series of radar parameters (backscatter coefficient, mean Doppler shift, and Doppler width) at 175 range gates (25-m spacing). Several statistical methods to de-convolve the turbulent velocity and gravitational settling velocity are examined and an optimized algorithm is developed. 20 days of observations are processed to examine in-cloud profiles of mean turbulent statistics (vertical velocity variance, skewness, dissipation rate) in terms of surface fluxes and estimates of entrainment and cloudtop radiative cooling. The clean separation of turbulent and fall velocities will allow us to compute time-averaged drizzle-drop size spectra within and below the cloud that are significantly superior to previous attempts with surface-based marine cloud radar observations.

Wednesday, Apr 2
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