The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E)



Jensen, Michael - Brookhaven National Laboratory
Giangrande, Scott - Brookhaven National Laboratory

Area of research:

Cloud Processes

Journal Reference:

Jensen MP, WA Petersen, A Bansemer, N Bharadwaj, LD Carey, DJ Cecil, SM Collis, AD Del Genio, B Dolan, J Gerlach, SE Giangrande, G Heymsfield, P Kollias, TJ Lang, SW Nesbitt, A Neumann, M Poellot, SA Rutledge, M Schwaller, A Tokay, CR Williams, DB Wolff, S Xie, and EJ Zipser. 2016. "The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E)." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 97(9), 10.1175/bams-d-14-00228.1.


The DOE ARM Climate Research Facility and the NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission collaborated for the 2011 Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) to collect ground- and aircraft-based measurements characterizing the four-dimensional properties of convective storms at the Southern Great Plains. Over the course of the six-week campaign, a number of storms were sampled; three deep convective events are highlighted.


The data collected during the campaign are being applied to a number of different challenges related to convective parameterization, modeling, and development of retrieval algorithms. Campaign data sets have already contributed to the scientific results from more than 40 manuscripts. These data are available through the DOE ARM and NASA data archives.


A joint 2011 MC3E campaign by the DOE ARM Climate Research Facility and NASA's GPM mission involved the deployment of a combination of ground- and aircraft-based remote-sensing and in situ sensors at and near the ARM Southern Great Plains (SGP) Central Facility. The major objectives of the campaign were the collection of a comprehensive data set to: 1) advance our understanding of different components of convective simulations and microphysical parameterizations and 2) improve the fidelity of space-based estimates of rainfall over land. This manuscript highlights the observations and initial science from three deeper convective MC3E events. These events include: a) in situ precipitation microphysics and profiler-based retrievals of vertical air motions within trailing stratiform precipitation for a mesoscale convective system on 11 May; b) comparisons of aircraft-based radar and radiometer measurements with forward-modeled radar reflectivites and brightness temperatures using in situ observations of particle size distributions/ice water content for the trailing stratiform precipitation of a squall line on 20 May; c) an integrated analysis of the kinematic and microphysical interactions for a supercell thunderstorm on 23 May using the extensive MC3E radar network.