Fliegel, Jonathan 1988- (2012-09). Quality Control and Census of SMART-R Observations from the DYNAMO/CINDY2011 Field Campaign. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • The Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar (SMART-R) is a truck-mounted C-band, Doppler radar that was deployed during the Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (DYNAMO) / Cooperative Indian Ocean Experiment on interseasonal variability in the year 2011 (CINDY2011) campaign on Addu Atoll, Maldives. One of SMART-R's objectives was to provide continuous volume scans of precipitating clouds during all phases of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) for the full duration of the campaign. Data from SMART-R is available for 2 October 2011 through 9 February 2012. Every 10 minutes a full volume scan was produced, which was subsequently run through quality control algorithms that, among other filters, performed a calibration correction, noise filtering, and an attenuation correction. It was observed that data from SMART-R appeared to be slanted towards the WNW, and after analysis, a 0.75o tilt correction was applied towards azimuth 285o. The data was then converted into Cartesian coordinates and an additional noise filter was applied. NETCDF files with radial velocities and corrected reflectivity were produced. From the reflectivity observations, a suite of products including rain maps, echo- top heights and convective/stratiform separations were produced. A modified version of the convective/stratiform separation was developed in an attempt to classify shallow and weak convection more correctly. The modified algorithm utilizes an isolation parameter set to 10 km to the north, south, east, and west, a 10-dBz echo-top height threshold set to 9 km, and a 16-dBz reflectivity threshold at 3 km to ensure only isolated, shallow, and weak rain originally classified as stratiform, is reclassified as convection. Analyses of these products clearly suggest two MJO events occurring in October and November as indicated by the Wheeler and Hendon Multivariate MJO index. While stratiform rain almost always encompassed a larger area of the radar domain, convective rain was the larger producer of rain with the exception of active MJO periods. In addition, echo-top height counts are observed to increase in both vertical structure and frequency as the MJO initiates and becomes active over the radar domain. Possible connections are also made between echo-top height data and humidity retrievals from soundings launched on Addu Atoll. It appears that during MJO initiation, convective echo tops lead the moistening of the mid troposphere, while during suppressed phases, the convective echo tops lag behind the moistening of the mid troposphere. Wind shear also appears to be weaker during an active MJO event, and increase as the active MJO exits the region. From these observations, as well as other rain statistics including the diurnal cycle, indicators for a localized MJO index are proposed that are based on local radar and sounding data, rather than satellite and reanalysis observations of wind and outgoing long-wave radiation.

publication date

  • December 2012