Articles | Volume 5, issue 6
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 1375–1385, 2012

Special issue: Arctic Summer Cloud Ocean Study (ASCOS) (ACP/AMT/OS inter-journal...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 5, 1375–1385, 2012

Research article 18 Jun 2012

Research article | 18 Jun 2012

Evaluation of turbulent dissipation rate retrievals from Doppler Cloud Radar

M. D. Shupe1, I. M. Brooks2, and G. Canut2 M. D. Shupe et al.
  • 1University of Colorado and NOAA-Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado, USA
  • 2Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

Abstract. Turbulent dissipation rate retrievals from cloud radar Doppler velocity measurements are evaluated using independent, in situ observations in Arctic stratocumulus clouds. In situ validation data sets of dissipation rate are derived using sonic anemometer measurements from a tethered balloon and high frequency pressure variation observations from a research aircraft, both flown in proximity to stationary, ground-based radars. Modest biases are found among the data sets in particularly low- or high-turbulence regimes, but in general the radar-retrieved values correspond well with the in situ measurements. Root mean square differences are typically a factor of 4–6 relative to any given magnitude of dissipation rate. These differences are no larger than those found when comparing dissipation rates computed from tethered-balloon and meteorological tower-mounted sonic anemometer measurements made at spatial distances of a few hundred meters. Temporal lag analyses suggest that approximately half of the observed differences are due to spatial sampling considerations, such that the anticipated radar-based retrieval uncertainty is on the order of a factor of 2–3. Moreover, radar retrievals are clearly able to capture the vertical dissipation rate structure observed by the in situ sensors, while offering substantially more information on the time variability of turbulence profiles. Together these evaluations indicate that radar-based retrievals can, at a minimum, be used to determine the vertical structure of turbulence in Arctic stratocumulus clouds.