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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Sep 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Vertical Air Motion Retrievals in Deep Convective Clouds using the ARM Scanning Radar Network in Oklahoma during MC3E
Kirk W. North1, Pavlos Kollias1,2, Scott E. Giangrande3, Scott M. Collis4, and Corey K. Potvin5 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
2School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA
3Atmospheric Sciences Division, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York, USA
4Environmental Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois, USA
5Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, and NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, and School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
Abstract. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) program's Southern Great Plains (SGP) site includes a heterogeneous distributed scanning Doppler radar network suitable for collecting coordinated Doppler velocity measurements in deep convective clouds. The surrounding National Weather Service (NWS) Next Generation Weather Surveillance Radar 1988 Doppler (NEXRAD WSR-88D) further supplements this network. Radar velocity measurements are assimilated in a three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) algorithm that retrieves horizontal and vertical air motions over a large analysis domain (100 km x 100 km) at storm-scale resolutions (250 m). For the first time, direct evaluation of retrieved vertical velocities with those from collocated 915-MHz radar wind profilers is performed. Mean absolute and root-mean-square differences between the two methods are on the order of 1 m s−1 and 2 m s−1, respectively. Moderate time-height correlations on the order of 0.5 are also shown to exist between the two methods. An empirical sensitivity analysis is done to determine a range of 3DVAR constraint weights that adequately satisfy both velocity observations and anelastic mass continuity. It is shown that the vertical velocity spread over this range is on the order of 1 m s−1. A similar sensitivity analysis reveals that iterative multi-Doppler techniques have difficulty satisfying velocity observations and mass continuity simultaneously. These results provide a form of assurance in the use of 3DVAR retrieved vertical velocities for evaluating numerical simulations of deep convective clouds.

Citation: North, K. W., Kollias, P., Giangrande, S. E., Collis, S. M., and Potvin, C. K.: Vertical Air Motion Retrievals in Deep Convective Clouds using the ARM Scanning Radar Network in Oklahoma during MC3E, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2016.
Kirk W. North et al.
Kirk W. North et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Vertical air motion retrievals from multiple distributed scanning Doppler radars are compared against collocated profiling radars to characterize their veracity such that their usefulness towards improving parameterizations in cloud resolving and climate models can be further understood. The retrieved vertical air motions are generally within 1–2 m s−1 of agreement with profiling radars, and therefore can be used as a means to improve parameterizations in numerical models moving forward.
Vertical air motion retrievals from multiple distributed scanning Doppler radars are compared...