4.6 C3Winds: A New Wind Observing System to Study Mesoscale Cloud Dynamics and Processes

Thursday, 14 January 2016: 4:45 PM
Room 343 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Dong L. Wu, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD; and M. A. Kelly, J. H. yee, J. boldt, R. Demajistre, E. Reynolds, G. J. Tripoli, L. Oman, N. Prive, A. K. Heidinger, and S. Wanzong

The CubeSat Constellation Cloud Winds (C3Winds) is a NASA Earth Venture Instrument (EV-I) concept with the primary objective to better understand mesoscale dynamics and their structures in severe weather systems. With potential catastrophic damage and loss of life, strong extratropical and tropical cyclones (ETCs and TCs) have profound three-dimensional impacts on the atmospheric dynamic and thermodynamic structures, producing complex cloud/precipitation patterns, strong low-level winds, extensive tropopause folds, and intense stratosphere-troposphere exchange. Employing a compact, stereo IR-visible imaging technique from two formation-flying CubeSats, C3Winds seeks to measure and map high-resolution (~2 km) cloud motion vectors (CMVs) and cloud geometric height (CGH) accurately by tracking cloud features within 5-15 min. Complementary to lidar wind observations from space, the high-resolution wind fields from C3Winds will allow detailed investigations on strong low-level wind formation in an occluded ETC development, structural variations of TC inner-core rotation, and impacts of tropopause folding events on tropospheric ozone and air quality. Together with scatterometer ocean surface winds, C3Winds will provide a more comprehensive depiction of atmosphere-boundary-layer dynamics and interactive processes. Built upon mature imaging technologies and long history of stereoscopic remote sensing, C3Winds provides an innovative, cost-effective solution to global wind observations with potential of increased diurnal sampling via CubeSat constellation.
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