8.6 Radiometric Retrievals During Cloud Seeding Operations near Vail Colorado

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 9:45 AM
Room 350/351 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Marta Nelson, Radiometrics Corp., Boulder, CO; and P. Holbrook

In November 2014 the Colorado Water Conservation board placed a microwave profiling radiometer near Vail Pass Colorado to aid winter precipitation enhancement efforts by helping cloud seeders to detect optimal seeding targets and to continuously monitor boundary layer conditions around Vail Ski Resort and the I-70 corridor just west of Vail Pass. Three ground-based cloud seeding generators serve the operative area of the radiometer. Continuous monitoring of boundary layer conditions in the mountain valley can help identify the existence and duration of seeding targets. The MP-3000A radiometer near Vail Colorado continuously generated thermodynamic profiles for sixteen different azimuth directions, at three antenna elevation angles of 20, 45, and 90 degrees above horizon. The Vail radiometer location was chosen strategically to assist cloud seeding operations in the Beaver Creek and Vail ski resort areas. The custom scanning configuration was intended to give comprehensive data for all local storms and provide data with temporal resolution sufficient for comparison of wind direction and the location and advection of liquid in the mountain valley. If the boundary layer conditions within individual mountain valleys are sufficiently observed during winter weather, that observation data can be used to improve local numerical forecast models. The radiometer detects liquid and vapor in addition to temperature, so, with the addition of all other available meteorological data, mountain valley microclimates can be better understood and modeled. Validation and data assimilation of numerical models simulating mountain valley storm characteristics with radiometer data could provide insight into the effectiveness of cloud seeding. This presentation incorporates radiometer and wind data from Vail and past research to discuss the advantage of radiometric retrievals in mountain weather nowcasting, modeling, precipitation enhancement and hazard planning operations and suggests future implementation and research ideas.

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