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High Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler

HIWRAP (High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler) is a dual-frequency radar (Ka- and Ku-band), dual-beam (300 and 400 incidence angle), conical scan, solid-state transmitter-based system, designed for operation on the high-altitude (20 km) Global Hawk UAV. HIWRAP characteristics: Conically scanning; Simultaneous Ku/Ka-band & two beams @30 and 40 deg; Winds using precipitation & clouds as tracers; Ocean vector wind scatterometry; Map the 3-dimensional winds and precipitation within hurricanes and other severe weather events; Map ocean surface winds in clear to light rain regions using scatterometry.

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Cloud Aerosol and Precipitation Spectrometer

Measures concentration and records images of cloud particles from approximately 50-1600 microns in diameter with a resolution of 25 microns per pixel. Measures cloud droplet and aerosol concentrations within the size range of 0.5-50 microns.

The three DMT instruments included in the CAPS are the Cloud Imaging Probe (CIP), the Cloud and Aerosol Spectrometer (CAS), and the Hotwire Liquid Water Content Sensor (Hotwire LWC).

The CIP, which measures larger particles, operates as follows. Shadow images of particles passing through a collimated laser beam are projected onto a linear array of 64 photodetectors. The presence of a particle is registered by a change in the light level on each diode. The registered changes in the photodetectors are stored at a rate consistent with probe velocity and the instrument’s size resolution. Particle images are reconstructed from individual “slices,” where a slice is the state of the 64-element linear array at a given moment in time. A slice must be stored each time interval that the particle advances through the beam a distance equal to the resolution of the probe. Optional grayscale imaging gives three levels of shadow recording on each photodetector, allowing more detailed information on the particles.

The CAS, which measures smaller particles, relies on light-scattering rather than imaging techniques. Particles scatter light from an incident laser, and collecting optics guide the light scattered in the 4° to 12° range into a forward-sizing photodetector. This light is measured and used to infer particle size. Backscatter optics also measure light in the 168° to 176° range, which allows determination of the real component of a particle’s refractive index for spherical particles.

The Hotwire LWC instrument estimates liquid water content using a heated sensing coil. The system maintains the coil at a constant temperature, usually 125 °C, and measures the power necessary to maintain this temperature. More power is needed to maintain the temperature as droplets evaporate on the coil surface and cool the surface and surrounding air. Hence, this power reading can be used to estimate LWC. Both the LWC design and the optional PADS software contain features to ensure the LWC reading is not affected by conductive heat loss.

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High Volume Precipitation Spectrometer

SPEC previously built the Version 1 and Version 2 HVPS probes that have now been discontinued due to obsolete parts and significant advances in technology. The HVPS-3 uses the same 128-photodiode array and electronics that are used in the 2D-S and 2D-128 probes. The optics are configured for 150 micron pixel resolution, resulting in a maximum field of view of 1.92 cm (i.e., particles up to 1.92 cm are completely imaged, although even larger particles can be sized in the direction of flight).

Sample volume of the HVPS-3 is 400 L s-1 at 100 m s-1. The 2D-S or 2D-128 and HVPS make an excellent pair of probes that completely image particles from 10 microns to 1.92 cm.

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Cloud Droplet Probe

The Cloud Droplet Probe (CDP), manufactured by Droplet Measurement Technologies, measures the concentration and size distribution of cloud droplets in the size range from 2-50 µm. The instrument counts and sizes individual droplets by detecting pulses of light scattered from a laser beam in the near-forward direction, using a sample area of 0.24 mm2 or a sample rate of 48 cm3 at a flight speed of 200 m/s. The probe is mounted in an underwing canister and is designed to operate at up to 200 m/s; the G-V often exceeds this flight speed, but usually not in penetrations of clouds containing cloud droplets. Droplet sizes are accumulated in 30 bins with variable sizes, as specied in the header of the netCDF data files. Measurements are usually provided at a rate of 1 Hz in the standard data files but can be made available at 10 Hz in special high-rate processing. The instrument is similar to, and might be considered a high-speed replacement for, the Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe. At high droplet concentration (> 500 cm-3), coincidence losses have been observed with this probe, and these are especially serious at G-V flight speeds. The probe is designed for cloud droplets, and its response to ice crystals is not intended to be quantitative; measurements in ice clouds should not be used except as qualitative indications of cloud.

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Turbulent Air Motion Measurement System

The TAMMS is composed of several subsystems including: (1) distributed pressure ports coupled with absolute and differential pressure transducers and temperature sensors, (2) aircraft inertial and satellite navigation systems, (3) a central data acquisition/processing system, and (4) water vapor instruments and potentially other trace gas or aerosol sensors.

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Nevzorov Liquid Water Content (LWC) and Total Water Content (TWC) Probe

The Nevzorov liquid water content (LWC) and total water content (TWC) probe is a constant-temperature, hot-wire probe designed for aircraft measurements of the ice and liquid water content of clouds. The probe consists of two separate sensors for measurements of cloud liquid and total (ice plus liquid) water content. Each sensor consists of a collector and a reference winding. The reference sensors are shielded from impact with cloud particles, specifically to provide an automatic compensation for convective heat losses.

The sensitivity of the probe is estimated to be approximately 0.003– 0.005 g m23. The accuracy of LWC measurements in nonprecipitating liquid clouds is estimated as 10%–15%. Tests at the NRC high-speed icing tunnel have provided verification of the TWC measurement for small frozen droplets to an accuracy of approximately 10%–20%, but verification in snow and natural ice crystals has not yet been possible due to the absence of any accurate standards. The TWC measurement offers not only the possibility of direct measurements of ice content but also improved liquid water contents in drizzle situations. Airborne measurements have provided data on the baseline drift and sensitivity of the probe and have provided comparisons to other conventional instruments. Several cases have been documented that exhibit the unique capabilities of the instrument to separate the ice and liquid components of supercooled clouds.

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ER-2 Doppler Radar

EDOP is an X-band (9.6 GHz) Doppler radar nose-mounted in the ER-2. The instrument has two antennas: one nadir-pointing with pitch stabilization, and the other forward pointing. The general objectives of EDOP are the measurement of the vertical structure of precipitation and air motions in mesoscale precipitation systems and the development of spaceborne radar algorithms for precipitation estimation.

EDOP measures high-resolution time-height sections of reflectivity and vertical hydrometeor velocity (and vertical air motion when the hydrometeor fall speed and aircraft motions are removed). An additional capability on the forward beam permits measurement of the linear depolarization ratio (LDR) which provides useful information on orientation of the hydrometeors (i.e., the canting angle), hydrometeor phase, size, etc. The dual beam geometry has advantages over a single beam. For example, along-track horizontal air motions can be calculated by using the displacement of the ER-2 to provide dual Doppler velocities (i.e., forward and nadir beams) at a particular altitude.

EDOP is designed as a turn-key system with real-time processing on-board the aircraft. The RF system consists of a coherent frequency synthesizer which generates the transmitted and local oscillator frequencies used in the system, a pulse modulated (0.5 to 2.0 micro-second pulse) high gain 20 kW Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier which is coupled through the duplexer to the antenna, and the receiver which is comprised of a low-noise (~1dB) GaAs preamplifier followed by a mixer for each of the receive channels. The composite system generates a nadir oriented beam with a co-polarized receiver and a 350 forward directed beam with co- and cross- polarized receivers. The antenna design consists of two separate offset-fed parabolic antennas, with high polarization isolation feed horns, mounted in the nose radome of the ER-2. The antennas are 0.76 m diameter resulting in a 30 beamwidth and a spot size of about 1.2 km at the surface (assuming a 20 km aircraft altitude). The two beams operate simultaneously from a single transmitter.

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Cloud Radar System

Clouds are a key element in the global hydrological cycle, and they have a significant role in the Earth’s energy budget through its influence on radiation budgets. Climate model simulations have demonstrated the importance of clouds in moderating and forcing the global energy budget. Despite the crucial role of clouds in climate and the breadth of our current knowledge, there are still many unanswered details. An improved understanding of the radiative impact of clouds on the climate system requires a comprehensive view of clouds that includes their physical dimensions, vertical and horizontal spatial distribution, detailed microphysical properties, and the dynamical processes producing them. However, the lack of fine-scale cloud data is apparent in current climate model simulations.

The Cloud Radar System (CRS) is a fully coherent, polarimeteric Doppler radar that is capable of detecting clouds and precipitation from the surface up to the aircraft altitude in the lower stratosphere. The radar is especially well suited for cirrus cloud studies because of its high sensitivity and fine spatial resolution.

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Cloud Physics Lidar

The Cloud Physics Lidar, or CPL, is a backscatter lidar designed to operate simultaneously at 3 wavelengths: 1064, 532, and 355 nm. The purpose of the CPL is to provide multi-wavelength measurements of cirrus, subvisual cirrus, and aerosols with high temporal and spatial resolution. Figure 1 shows the entire CPL package in flight configuration. The CPL utilizes state-of-the-art technology with a high repetition rate, low pulse energy laser and photon-counting detection. Vertical resolution of the CPL measurements is fixed at 30 m; horizontal resolution can vary but is typically about 200 m. The CPL fundamentally measures range-resolved profiles of volume 180-degree backscatter coefficients. From the fundamental measurement, various data products are derived, including: time-height crosssection images; cloud and aerosol layer boundaries; optical depth for clouds, aerosol layers, and planetary boundary layer (PBL); and extinction profiles. The CPL was designed to fly on the NASA ER-2 aircraft but is adaptable to other platforms. Because the ER-2 typically flies at about 65,000 feet (20 km), onboard instruments are above 94% of the earth’s atmosphere, allowing ER-2 instruments to function as spaceborne instrument simulators. The ER-2 provides a unique platform for atmospheric profiling, particularly for active remote sensing instruments such as lidar, because the spatial coverage attainable by the ER-2 permits studies of aerosol properties across wide regions. Lidar profiling from the ER-2 platform is especially valuable because the cloud height structure, up to the limit of signal attenuation, is unambiguously measured.

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Conical Scanning Millimeter-wave Imaging Radiometer

CoSMIR is an airborne, 9-channel total power radiometer that was originally developed for the calibration/validation of the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager/ Sounder (SSMIS), a new-generation conical scanning radiometer for the DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Project) F-series satellites. When first completed in 2003, the system has four receivers near 50, 91, 150 and 183 GHz, that measure horizontally polarized radiation at the frequencies of 50.3, 52.8, 53.6, 150, 183.3±1, 183.3±3, and 183.3±6.6 GHz, and dual polarized radiation at 91.665 GHz from on board the high-flying NASA ER-2 aircraft. All receivers and radiometer electronics are housed in a small cylindrical scan head (21.5 cm in diameter and 28 cm in length) that is rotated by a two-axis gimbaled mechanism capable of generating a wide variety of scan profiles. Two calibration targets, one maintained at ambient (cold) temperature and another heated to a hot temperature of about 328 K, are closely coupled to the scan head and rotate with it about the azimuth axis. Radiometric signals from each channel are sampled at 0.01 sec intervals. These signals and housekeeping data are fed to the main computer in an external electronics box.

CoSMIR has been flown only for calibration/validation of the SSMIS during years 2004-2005 off the coastal areas of California. Currently, it is being modified to play the role as an airborne high-frequency simulator for the GMI, which requires changes in both frequency and polarization for some channels. After modification, the 9 channels will be at the frequencies of 50.3, 52.6, 89 (H & V), 165.5 (H & V), 183.3±1, 183.3±3, and 183.3±7 GHz. All channels besides 89 and 165.5 GHz will be horizontally polarized. The modified CoSMIR will fly in a GPM–related field campaign in Oklahoma during April-May 2011.

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