Retrieval of atmospheric attenuation using combined ground-based and airbone 95-GHz cloud radar measurements

L. Li, S. M. Sekelsky, S. C. Reising, C. T. Swift, S. L. Durden, G. A. Sadowy, S. J. Dinardo, F. K. Li, A. Huffman, G. Stephens, D. M. Babb, H. W. Rosenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Cloud measurements at millimeter-wave frequencies are affected by attenuation due to atmospheric gases, clouds, and precipitation. Estimation of the true equivalent radar reflectivity, Ze, is complicated because extinction mechanisms are not well characterized at these short wavelengths. This paper discusses cloud radar calibration and intercomparison of airborne and ground-based radar measurements and presents a unique algorithm for attenuation retrieval. This algorithm is based on dual 95-GHz radar measurements of the same cloud and precipitation volumes collected from opposing viewing angles. True radar reflectivity is retrieved by combining upward-looking and downward-looking radar profiles. This method reduces the uncertainty in radar reflectivity and attenuation estimates, since it does not require a priori knowledge of hydrometeors' microphysical properties. Results from this technique are compared with results retrieved from the Hitschfeld and Bordan algorithm, which uses single-radar measurements with path-integrated attenuation as a constraint. Further analysis is planned to employ this dual-radar algorithm in order to refine single-radar attenuation retrieval techniques, which will be used by operational sensors such as the CloudSat radar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1353
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science


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