Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility US Department of Energy

COPS - Initiation of Convection and the Microphysical Properties of Clouds in Orographic Terrain

2 April 2007 - 31 December 2007

Lead Scientist: Volker Wulfmeyer

Observatory: AMF, FKB

The ARM Mobile Facility (AMF) was deployed and operated in the Black Forest area during the Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS) in summer 2007. The COPS region can be characterized by significant orographic precipitation with most of the summertime precipitation being convective. Due to major problems in predicting this type of precipitation, the area was chosen as a natural laboratory for convection during the intensive observational period of the German priority program on Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting (PWP) funded for a six-year period by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The aim was to identify the reasons of deficiencies in QPF and to improve the skill of mesoscale model forecasts with respect to precipitation. During the COPS field campaign, large efforts were put on observing the four-dimensional state of the atmosphere from the pre-convective environment, to the initiation of convection to the formation of clouds, to the development and decay of precipitation. For this purpose, measurements from several super sites (similar to the AMF) within an area of about 100 x 100 km2 were combined with satellite and radar data. At the super sites, a number of new scanning remote sensing instruments (cloud radar, lidar, microwave radiometer) were deployed.

To transfer the COPS results to a larger scale, a General Observations Period (GOP) of the PQP covered the area of central Europe and the full year 2007. Here, close cooperation with the CloudNET project (stations Cabauw, Chilbolton, and Lindenberg) took place to derive a set of cloud microphysical parameters using novel synergetic algorithms and to compare those with numerical modeling results. For an improved connection between COPS and the GOP, researchers performed continuous measurements of the AMF for nine months at a special observation site in the COPS area where initiation of convection and cloud formation can often be expected. As COPS and the GOP have an open data policy, these data are available for all collaborators.

The following science questions were investigated by combining the AMF, COPS, GOP and CloudNET data:

  • What are the processes responsible for the formation and evolution of convective clouds in orographic terrain?
  • What are the microphysical properties of orographically induced clouds and how do these depend on dynamics, thermodynamics, and aerosol microphysics?
  • How can convective clouds in orographic terrain be represented in atmospheric models based on AMF, COPS, and GOP data?

To answer these science questions, the observations (ground-based, air- and satellite-borne) were strongly linked with atmospheric models ranging from detailed cloud microphysical models over state-of-the-art mesoscale models used in short-range weather prediction to general circulation models. Using this set of tools, researchers investigated how representative the observations were of an atmospheric column by the AMF and the other CloudNET stations for a model grid box (from about 2 to 200 km) in orographic terrain.

The PQP program was coordinated with other international research programs such as the MAP Forest Demonstration Project (FDP) and THORPEX of the World Weather Research Program (WWRP). A strong collaboration between modelers, instrument principal investigators, weather services within international research programs and organizations were established. Consequently, the PQP community provided and studied unique data sets of observations and model results for addressing the science questions above.

The AMF helped scientists collect data about orographic precipitation, which is common in the Black Forest, particularly in the summertime.
The AMF helped scientists collect data about orographic precipitation, which is common in the Black Forest, particularly in the summertime.

Related Publications

2014

Kneifel S, S Redl, E Orlandi, U Löhnert, MP Cadeddu, DD Turner, and M Chen. 2014. "Absorption Properties of Supercooled Liquid Water between 31 and 225 GHz: Evaluation of Absorption Models Using Ground-Based Observations." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 53(4), 10.1175/jamc-d-13-0214.1.

2013

Chiu J, J Mann, E O'Connor, and A Jefferson. 2013. Observational constraints of aerosol-cloud-drizzle interactions for warm clouds using AMF measurements in Europe. Presented at 4th Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Science Team Meeting. Potomac, MD.

2012

Morcrette CJ, EJ O'Connor, and JC Petch. 2012. "Evaluation of two cloud parametrization schemes using ARM and Cloud-Net observations." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 138(665), 10.1002/qj.969.

Giangrande SE, EP Luke, and P Kollias. 2012. "Characterization of vertical velocity and drop size distribution parameters in widespread precipitation at ARM facilities." Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51(2), 10.1175/jamc-d-10-05000.1.

Chiu JC, J Mann, R Hogan, A Marshak, G Feingold, A McComiskey, and W Wiscombe. 2012. Do Polluted Clouds Have Sharper Cloud Edges? Presented at 3rd Atmospheric System Research (ASR) Science Team Meeting. Arlington, VA.

2011

Payne VH, EJ Mlawer, KE Cady-Pereira, and J Moncet. 2011. "Water Vapor Continuum Absorption in the Microwave." IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 49(6), 10.1109/tgrs.2010.2091416.

Ebell K, S Crewell, U Loehnert, DD Turner, and E O'Connor. 2011. "Cloud statistics and cloud radiative effect for a low-mountain site." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 137(S1), 10.1002/qj.748.

Wulfmeyer V, A Behrendt, C Kottmeier, U Corsmeier, C Barthlott, GC Craig, M Hagen, D Althausen, F Aoshima, M Arpagaus, H-S Bauer, L Bennett, A Blyth, C Brandau, C Champollion, S Crewell, G Dick, P DiGirolamo, M Dorninger, Y Dufournet, R Eigenmann, R Engelmann, C Flamant, T Foken, T Gorgas, M Grzeschik, J Handwerker, C Hauck, H Hoeller, W Junkermann, N Kalthoff, C Kiemle, S Klink, M Koenig, L Krauss, CN Long, F Madonna, S Mobbs, B Neiniger, S Pal, G Peters, G Pigeon, E Richard, MW Rotach, H Russchenberg, T Schwitalla, V Smith, R Steinacker, J Trentmann, DD Turner, J Van Baelen, S Vogt, H Volkert, T Weckwerth, H Wernli, A Wieser, and M Wirth. 2011. "The Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS): the scientific strategy, the field phase, and research highlights." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 137(S1), 10.1002/qj.752.

Weckwerth TM, LJ Bennett, J Van Baelen, and P Di Girolamo. 2011. A convection initiation case study during COPS: 6 August 2007. Presented at 91th Annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) Meeting. Seattle, WA.

Behrendt A, S Pal, F Aoshima, M Bender, A Blyth, U Corsmeier, J Cuesta, G Dick, M Dorninger, C Flamant, P Di Girolamo, T Gorgas, Y Huang, N Kalthoff, S Khodayar, H Mannstein, K Traumner, A Wieser, and B Wulfmeyer. 2011. "Observation of convection initiation processes with a suite of state-of-the-art research instruments during COPS IOP 8b." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 137(S1), 10.1002/qj.758.


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MPL Micropulse Lidar Browse Data
MPLAVG MPL: data averaged to fixed 30 second interval, e.g. for polarized data Browse Data
MPLCMASK Cloud mask from Micropulse Lidar Browse Data
MWR Microwave Radiometer Browse Data
MWRHF Microwave Radiometer - High Frequency Browse Data
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NFOV Narrow Field of View Zenith Radiometer Browse Data
PBLHT Planetary Boundary Layer Height Browse Data
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RWP Radar Wind Profiler Browse Data
SKYRAD Sky Radiometers on Stand for Downwelling Radiation Browse Data
SONDE Balloon-Borne Sounding System Browse Data
SONDEADJUST Sonde Adjust Browse Data
TSI Total Sky Imager Browse Data
TWRCAM Tower Camera Browse Data
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WACR W-Band (95 GHz) ARM Cloud Radar Browse Data
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