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Maximizing the Volume of Collocated Data from Two Coordinated Suborbital...

Schlosser, J., Ryan Bennett, B. Cairns, G. Chen, B. Collister, J. W. Hair, M. Jones, M. Shook, A. Sorooshian, L. Thornhill, L. D. Ziemba, and S. Stamnes (2024), Maximizing the Volume of Collocated Data from Two Coordinated Suborbital Platforms, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 41, 189-201, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-23-0001.1.

Suborbital (e.g., airborne) campaigns that carry advanced remote sensing and in situ payloads provide detailed observations of atmospheric processes, but can be challenging to use when it is necessary to geographically collocate data from multiple platforms that make repeated observations of a given geographic location at different altitudes. This study reports on a data collocation algorithm that maximizes the volume of collocated data from two coordinated suborbital platforms and demonstrates its value using data from the NASA Aerosol Cloud Meteorology Interactions Over the western Atlantic Experiment (ACTIVATE) suborbital mission. A robust data collocation algorithm is critical for the success of the ACTIVATE mission goal to develop new and improved remote sensing algorithms, and quantify their performance. We demonstrate the value of these collocated data to quantify the performance of a recently developed vertically resolved lidar 1 polarimeter–derived aerosol particle number concentration (Na) product, resulting in a range-normalized mean absolute deviation (NMAD) of 9% compared to in situ measurements. We also show that this collocation algorithm increases the volume of collocated ACTIVATE data by 21% compared to using only nearest-neighbor finding algorithms alone. Additional to the benefits demonstrated within this study, the data files and routines produced by this algorithm have solved both the critical collocation and the collocation application steps for researchers who require collocated data for their own studies. This freely available and open-source collocation algorithm can be applied to future suborbital campaigns that, like ACTIVATE, use multiple platforms to conduct coordinated observations, e.g., a remote sensing aircraft together with in situ data collected from suborbital platforms.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: This study describes a data collocation (i.e., selection) process that aims to maximize the volume of data identified to be simultaneously collected in time and space from two coordinated measurement

platforms. The functional utility of the resultant dataset is also demonstrated by extending the validation of aerosol particle number concentration derived from standard lidar and polarimeter data products from a suborbital mission that

used two aircraft platforms.

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Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)
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