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Schmidt, JM, Flatau PJ, Harasti PR, Yates RD, Littleton R, Pritchard MS, Fischer JM, Fischer EJ, Kohri WJ, Vetter JR, Richman S, Baranowski DB, Anderson MJ, Fletcher E, Lando DW.  2012.  Radar observations of individual rain drops in the free atmosphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109:9293-9298.   10.1073/pnas.1117776109   AbstractWebsite

Atmospheric remote sensing has played a pivotal role in the increasingly sophisticated representation of clouds in the numerical models used to assess global and regional climate change. This has been accomplished because the underlying bulk cloud properties can be derived from a statistical analysis of the returned microwave signals scattered by a diverse ensemble comprised of numerous cloud hydrometeors. A new Doppler radar, previously used to track small debris particles shed from the NASA space shuttle during launch, is shown to also have the capacity to detect individual cloud hydrometeors in the free atmosphere. Similar to the traces left behind on film by subatomic particles, larger cloud particles were observed to leave a well-defined radar signature (or streak), which could be analyzed to infer the underlying particle properties. We examine the unique radar and environmental conditions leading to the formation of the radar streaks and develop a theoretical framework which reveals the regulating role of the background radar reflectivity on their observed characteristics. This main expectation from theory is examined through an analysis of the drop properties inferred from radar and in situ aircraft measurements obtained in two contrasting regions of an observed multicellular storm system. The observations are placed in context of the parent storm circulation through the use of the radar's unique high-resolution waveforms, which allow the bulk and individual hydrometeor properties to be inferred at the same time.

Welton, EJ, Voss KJ, Quinn PK, Flatau PJ, Markowicz K, Campbell JR, Spinhirne JD, Gordon HR, Johnson JE.  2002.  Measurements of aerosol vertical profiles and optical properties during INDOEX 1999 using micropulse lidars. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 107   10.1029/2000jd000038   AbstractWebsite

[1] Micropulse lidar (MPL) systems were used to measure aerosol properties during the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX) 1999 field phase. Measurements were made from two platforms: the NOAA ship R/V Ronald H. Brown, and the Kaashidhoo Climate Observatory (KCO) in the Maldives. Sun photometers were used to provide aerosol optical depths (AOD) needed to calibrate the MPL. This study focuses on the height distribution and optical properties (at 523 nm) of aerosols observed during the campaign. The height of the highest aerosols (top height) was calculated and found to be below 4 km for most of the cruise. The marine boundary layer (MBL) top was calculated and found to be less than 1 km. MPL results were combined with air mass trajectories, radiosonde profiles of temperature and humidity, and aerosol concentration and optical measurements. Humidity varied from approximately 80% near the surface to 50% near the top height during the entire cruise. The average value and standard deviation of aerosol optical parameters were determined for characteristic air mass regimes. Marine aerosols in the absence of any continental influence were found to have an AOD of 0.05+/-0.03, an extinction-to-backscatter ratio (S ratio) of 33+/-6 sr, and peak extinction values around 0.05 km(-1) (near the MBL top). The marine results are shown to be in agreement with previously measured and expected values. Polluted marine areas over the Indian Ocean, influenced by continental aerosols, had AOD values in excess of 0.2, S ratios well above 40 sr, and peak extinction values approximately 0.20 km(-1) (near the MBL top). The polluted marine results are shown to be similar to previously published values for continental aerosols. Comparisons between MPL derived extinction near the ship (75 m) and extinction calculated at ship level using scattering measured by a nephelometer and absorption using a particle soot absorption photometer were conducted. The comparisons indicated that the MPL algorithm (using a constant S ratio throughout the lower troposphere) calculates extinction near the surface in agreement with the ship-level measurements only when the MBL aerosols are well mixed with aerosols above. Finally, a review of the MPL extinction profiles showed that the model of aerosol vertical extinction developed during an earlier INDOEX field campaign (at the Maldives) did not correctly describe the true vertical distribution over the greater Indian Ocean region. Using the average extinction profile and AOD obtained during marine conditions, a new model of aerosol vertical extinction was determined for marine atmospheres over the Indian Ocean. A new model of aerosol vertical extinction for polluted marine atmospheres was also developed using the average extinction profile and AOD obtained during marine conditions influenced by continental aerosols.