Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX) Field Campaign

The Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX) was a Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) ground validation field campaign that  consisted of a wide variety of ground instrumentation, radars, and multiple aircrafts all which monitored the weather conditions and rainfall dropped by oceanic storm systems as they approached and traversed the Peninsula and the Olympic Mountains. The intensive observing period took place during November 2015 through February 2016. 

Scientific Objectives

The primary objectives of OLYMPEX included:

  • Verify and validate satellite measurements of precipitation, primarily rain and snow measurements in mid-latitude frontal systems
  • Determine how remotely-sensed GPM precipitation measurements can be applied to a range of hydrologic, weather forecasting and climate model data
  • Determine changes in precipitation characteristics with elevation change
Spatial Coverage
[N: 48.5, W: -126.0, E: -122.0, S: 46.0] degrees
Time Range
November 10, 2015 - February 16, 2016
PHENOMENA STUDIED
Atmospheric Rivers
Snow Microphysics
Convective Precipitation

Instruments Used

Multiple instruments were flown on the UND Citation II, NASA ER-2, and NASA DC-8 aircrafts, as well as installed on ground stations, during the OLYMPEX Field Campaign. The instruments were used to observe atmospheric phenomena, such as atmospheric rivers, precipitation characteristics, and cloud microphysics. The instruments included particle probes, the Advanced Microwave Precipitation Radiometer (AMPR), a Cloud Physics LiDAR (CPL), a High Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP), a Cloud Radar System (CRS),  Advanced Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS), and many different types of parsivels and disdrometers. Support data were also collected during the OLYMPEX field campaign, consisting of various satellite, model output, and operational datasets.

PLATFORM TYPE PLATFORM RELEVANT INSTRUMENT DATASETS HOW ARE THE DATA USED?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airborne

UND Citation II Particle Probes

Cloud liquid water

Ice water content

Cloud microphysics

Cloud droplet size

Particle size distribution

NASA ER-2

AMPR

CPL

HIWRAP

CRS

Radar reflectivity

Precipitation

Cloud droplet distribution

Layer optical depth

Brightness temperature

NASA DC-8

AVAPs

APR-3

CoSMIR

Dropsondes

Atmospheric pressure

Atmospheric temperature

Wind direction and magnitude

Radar reflectivity

Precipitation rate

Brightness temperature

Ground Station

Ground stations

NPOL

DOW

D3R

Rain Gauges

Parsivels

Disdrometers

Precipitation rate

Total precipitation

Cloud microphysics

Radar reflectivity

 

Events of Interest

This section highlights events within the field campaign of particular scientific interest.

Major Findings

Several atmospheric river events were observed in which a long fetch of warm-sector water vapor influx impacted the Olympic Mountains, as well as other weather events that were dominated by warm-frontal and cold-frontal dynamics or unstable frontal conditions. Data collected from these weather event were and are still being used to validate precipitation algorithms for both the GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) and the Dual-frequency Precipitation Radar (DPR) instruments, understand how precipitation behaves at different latitudes, and how the precipitation in clouds over the Pacific Ocean is different from over the coastline and mountains. Major findings from this field campaign are still being discovered today.

Related Publication(s)

Field Campaign Publication:
Houze, R.A., L.A. McMurdie, W.A. Petersen,et al. (2017). The Olympic Mountains Experiment (OLYMPEX). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 98, 2167–2188, https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0182.1

OLYMPEX Notable Publications:
Hou, A. Y., R. K. Kakar, S. Meeck, A. A. Azarbarzin, C. D. Kummerow, M. Kojima, R. Oki, K. Nakamura, and T. Iguchi (2014). The Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 95, 701-722. doi: https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00164.1 

Background Information:
Houze, R. A., Jr. (2012). Orographic effects on precipitating clouds. Rev. Geophys., 50, RG1001, 47pp., doi: https://doi.org/10.1029/2011RG000365

Mass, C. (2008). Weather of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, 280 pp.

Minder, J. R., D. R. Durran, G. H. Roe, and A. M. Anders (2008). The climatology of small-scale orographic precipitation over the Olympic Mountains: Patterns and processes. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 134, 817-839. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.258 

DATE UPDATED
Nov 15th, 2018
AUTHOR(S)
Leigh Sinclair
Deborah Smith
MICRO ARTICLE TYPE
Field Campaign

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