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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 21 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 21 Oct 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Synergistic radar and radiometer retrievals of ice hydrometeors

Simon Pfreundschuh1, Patrick Eriksson1, Stefan A. Buehler2, Manfred Brath2, David Duncan4, Richard Larsson3, and Robin Ekelund1 Simon Pfreundschuh et al.
  • 1Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, 41296 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2Meteorologisches Institut, Fachbereich Geowissenschaften, Centrum für Erdsystem und Nachhaltigkeitsforschung (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Bundesstraße 55, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
  • 4European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Shinfield Park, Reading RG2 9AX, United Kingdom

Abstract. The upcoming Ice Cloud Imager (ICI) radiometer, to be launched on board the second generation of European operational meteorological satellites (Metop-SG), will be the first microwave imager to provide sub-millimeter observations of the atmosphere. The Microwave Imager (MWI) radiometer will be flown on the same satellites and complement the ICI sensor with observations at traditional millimeter wavelengths. The addition of these two new passive microwave sensors to the global system of earth observation satellites opens up opportunities for synergistic satellite missions aiming to maximize the scientific return of the Metop-SG program. This study analyzes the potential benefits of combining observations of the MWI and ICI radiometers with a 94-GHz cloud radar for the retrieval of frozen hydrometeors. Starting from a simplified numerical experiment, it is shown that the complementary information content in the radar and radiometer observations can help to better constrain the particle size distribution of ice particles in the atmosphere. The feasibility of the combined retrieval is demonstrated by applying a one-dimensional, variational cloud-retrieval algorithm to simulated observations from a high-resolution atmospheric model. Comparison of the results with passive- and radar-only versions of the retrieval algorithm confirms that synergies between the active and passive observations allow an improved retrieval of microphysical properties of frozen hydrometeors. The effect of the assumed ice particle shape on the results is analyzed and found to be critical for obtaining good retrieval performance. In addition to this, the synergistic retrieval shows improved sensitivity to liquid water in both warm and supercooled clouds. The results of this study clearly demonstrate the potential of the combined observations to constrain the microphysical properties of ice hydrometeors which can help to reduce errors in retrieved profiles of mass- and number densities.

Simon Pfreundschuh et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Simon Pfreundschuh et al.
Model code and software

Microwave Cloud Retrieval Framework (MCRF) S. Pfreundschuh

Simon Pfreundschuh et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The next generation of European operational weather satellites will carry a novel microwave sensor, the Ice Cloud Imager (ICI), which will provide observations of clouds at microwave frequencies that were not available before. We investigate the potential benefits of combining observations from ICI with that of a radar. We find that such combined observations provide additional information on the properties of the cloud and help to reduce uncertainties in retrieved mass and number densities.
The next generation of European operational weather satellites will carry a novel microwave...