788 Characterizing the Trade Space between Capability and Complexity in Next-Generation Cloud and Precipitation Observing Systems Using Markov Chain Monte Carlos Techniques

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Zhuocan Xu, Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; and J. Mace and D. J. Posselt

As we begin to contemplate the next generation atmospheric observing systems, it will be critically important that we are able to make informed decisions regarding the trade space between scientific capability and the need to keep complexity and cost within definable limits. To explore this trade space as it pertains to understanding key cloud and precipitation processes, we are developing a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm suite that allows us to arbitrarily define the specifications of candidate observing systems and then explore how the uncertainties in key retrieved geophysical parameters respond to that observing system. MCMC algorithms produce a more complete posterior solution space, and allow for an objective examination of information contained in measurements. In our initial implementation, MCMC experiments are performed to retrieve vertical profiles of cloud and precipitation properties from a spectrum of active and passive measurements collected by aircraft during the ACE Radiation Definition Experiments (RADEX). Focusing on shallow cumulus clouds observed during the Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology EXperiment (IPHEX), observing systems in this study we consider W and Ka-band radar reflectivity, path-integrated attenuation at those frequencies, 31 and 94 GHz brightness temperatures as well as visible and near-infrared reflectance. By varying the sensitivity and uncertainty of these measurements, we quantify the capacity of various combinations of observations to characterize the physical properties of clouds and precipitation.
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