Comparison of Airborne and Spaceborne 95-GHz Radar Reflectivities and...

Bouniol, D., A. Protat, A. Plana-Fattori, M. Giraud, J. Vinson, and N. Grand (2008), Comparison of Airborne and Spaceborne 95-GHz Radar Reflectivities and Evaluation of Multiple Scattering Effects in Spaceborne Measurements, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 25, 1983-1995, doi:10.1175/2008JTECHA1011.1.

This paper provides an evaluation of the level 1 (reflectivity) CloudSat products by making use of coincident measurements collected by an airborne 95-GHz radar during the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) experiment that took place in summer 2006 over West Africa. In a first step the airborne radar calibration is assessed. Collocated measurements of the spaceborne and airborne radars within the ice anvil of a mesoscale convective system are then compared. Several aspects are interesting in this comparison: First, both instruments exhibit attenuation within the ice part of the convective system, which suggests either the presence of a significant amount of supercooled liquid water above the melting layer or the presence of wet and very dense ice. Second, from the differences in the observed reflectivity values, a multiple scattering enhancement of at least 2.5 dB in the CloudSat reflectivities at flight altitude is estimated. The main conclusion of this paper is that in such thick anvils of mesoscale convective systems the CloudSat measurements have to be corrected for this effect, if one wants to derive accurate level 2 products such as the ice water content from radar reflectivity. This effect is expected to be much smaller in nonprecipitating clouds though.

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