Cloud Radar Simulator Bridges Gap between Climate Models and Field Data

Published: 23 October 2017
A new ground-based simulator is bridging the gap between cloud radar observations and the clouds simulated by climate models.

Researchers looking to compare climate model-simulated clouds and cloud observations from the ARM Climate Research Facility can access a helpful new tool.

In a paper published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), researchers described the development of an ARM radar simulator that converts model data to what a cloud radar can directly observe.

“The creation of the ground-based cloud radar simulator represents an important step that ARM has taken to address the gap between field data and models, and make the data-model comparison more meaningful,” says principal investigator Shaocheng Xie of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

The simulator bridges differences between climate model-simulated clouds and ARM radar observations in how they address spatial scale and properties of liquid and solid water in the atmosphere. The new tool has been incorporated into the Cloud Feedback Model Intercomparison Project Observation Simulator Package (COSP), a community satellite simulator package. Users can find the simulator and COSP on GitHub.

“We are currently working with major modeling centers around the world to implement the ARM radar simulator in their weather and/or climate models, and expect a great use of ARM data in their routine model evaluation through this effort,” says LLNL researcher Yuying Zhang, the paper’s lead author.

The multi-institutional research effort also includes scientists from the University of Washington; Stony Brook University in New York; Pennsylvania State University; Brookhaven National Laboratory; the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Earth System Research Laboratory; the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom; the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere/Colorado State University; Argonne National Laboratory; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

For more information, read the ARM research highlight.

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The ARM Climate Research Facility is a DOE Office of Science user facility. The ARM Facility is operated by nine DOE national laboratories.