A key contributor related to the uncertainty of climate model predictions is that the existing techniques for obtaining detailed information about cloud fields do not provide the necessary observations at the required resolution or spatial scale. Beginning this month at the ARM Southern Great Plains site, researchers are testing a promising new method for measuring 3D cloud microphysical structure. This method, called cloud microwave tomography, uses multiple microwave sensors at several distinct ground locations to scan the clouds. Combined with data from the site’s cloud radars and weather balloons, the multi-point scans result in a comprehensive and detailed interior structure of the cloud field.
During the month-long Ground-Based Cloud Tomography Experiment, five microwave scanning radiometers will continuously scan the vertical plane along a 10-km north-south line centered at the SGP Central Facility. Several other datastreams from instruments at the SGP site will be used either as ancillary data or as validation data. In addition, research flights for the RACORO field campaign may be coordinated along the line of the microwave radiometers. This will provide additional data for evaluating the cloud “reconstructions” using the tomography technique. For more information, see this press release.