Light Precipitation Evaluation Experiment (LPVEx)

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The Light Precipitation Evaluation Experiment (LPVEx) took place in the Gulf of Finland in September and October, 2010 and collected microphysical properties, associated remote sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of high latitude precipitation systems to drive the evaluation and development of precipitation algorithms for current and future satellite platforms. In doing so, LPVEx sought to address the general lack of dedicated ground-validation datasets from the ongoing development of new or improved algorithms for detecting and quantifying high latitude rainfall.

Specifically, LPVEx sought to characterize the ability of CloudSat, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM) Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR), and existing/planned passive microwave (PMW) sensors such as the GPM microwave imager (GMI) to detect light rain and evaluate their estimates of rainfall intensity in high latitude, shallow freezing level environments. Through the collection of additional microphysical and environmental parameters, the campaign also sought to better understand the process of light rainfall formation and augment the currently limited database of light rainfall microphysical properties that form the critical assumptions at the root of satellite retrieval algorithms.

LPVEx consisted of coordinated aircraft flights within an extensive network of ground-based observations that included three dual-polarization, C-band, Doppler radars, a network of surface weather and sounding stations, several micro-rain radars, and surface rainfall and drop size distribution (DSD) measurements from a large number of rain gauges and disdrometers. The core analysis strategy for the experiment was based on an “algorithm-simulator” approach where well-calibrated, multi-frequency, polarimetric radar observations were used to extend in situ measurements of the vertical/spatial distributions of temperature, humidity, aerosol concentrations, cloud water concentration, rain drop size spectra, particle phase, and surface rainfall intensity to full three-dimensional volume depictions of rainfall scenes.

LPVEx was a collaborative effort between CloudSat, the GPM Ground Validation (GV) program, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Environment Canada (EC), the United Kingdom National Environmental Research Council, Vaisala Inc., and the University of Helsinki (UH).

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