Snow Microphysics Event during GCPEx Field Campaign

What happened and why it happened
A synoptic scale snow event occurred on February 24, 2012 across southern Ontario. The event consisted of both stratiform (i.e., widespread) precipitation and convective bands that at times produced locally large amounts of snowfall over each of the five heavily-instrumented ground sites. What made this particular snow event so significant was that all the ground instruments were in operation and all three research aircraft sampled the cloud from above, within and below for several hours during the event. The multiple measurements allow researchers to construct a three-dimensional column of precipitation particle types, sizes and water volume content for analysis. The February 24th, 2012 snowfall event that occurred during the GPM Cold Season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx) was intensely measured and the detailed observations have contributed to determining the relationships between the physical and radiative properties of falling snow. The pattern of snowfall observed during this well-sampled event helps scientists to determine the sources of measurement variability and the errors associated with both in situ measurements and remotely sensed snowfall retrievals. The determined uncertainties and other findings can then be utilized to improve the GPM snowfall retrieval algorithms.
Science Question

What is the 3-D structure of falling snow and how does its variability affect remotely sensed retrievals?

Spatial Coverage
[N: 46, W: -81, E: -67.7, S: 44] degrees
Time Range

February 24, 2012

Event Type
Snow microphysics
Get Data

The GPM Ground Validation GCPEX Snow Microphysics Case Study collection includes data from four instruments that collected measurements during the snow microphysics event that occurred on February 24, 2012. The data in the collection has been subsetted to the event’s temporal range. Variables relevant to answering the science questions surrounding the snow microphysics event have also been extracted. The subsetted case study data can be accessed by clicking on the “Case Study Collection” link. A link to an iPython notebook data recipe can also be accessed by clicking on the “data recipe” link. Individual dataset user guide documentation and the full datasets included in this case study can be accessed from the information table below.

Case Study Collection
Data Recipe
GPM Ground Validation Dual Polarization Radiometer GCPEx Guide document netCDF
GPM Ground Validation Dual-frequency Dual-polarized Doppler Radar (D3R) GCPEx Guide document netCDF
GPM Ground Validation Airborne Second Generation Precipitation Radar (APR-2) GCPEx Guide document HDF
GPM Ground Validation NCAR Cloud Microphysics Particle Probes GCPEx Guide document ASCII


Relevant Publication(s)
Gail Skofronick-Jackson, David Hudak, Walter Petersen, Stephen W. Nesbitt, V. Chandrasekar, Stephen Durden, Kirstin J. Gleicher, Gwo-Jong Huang, Paul Joe, Pavlos Kollias, Kimberly A. Reed, Mathew R. Schwaller, Ronald Stewart, Simone Tanelli, Ali Tokay, James R. Wang, and Mengistu Wolde, 2015: Global Precipitation Measurement Cold Season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEX): For Measurement’s Sake, Let It Snow. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 96, 1719–1741.
Toshihisa Matsui, Takamichi Iguchi, Xiaowen Li, Mei Han, Wei-Kuo Tao, Walter Petersen, Tristan L'Ecuyer, Robert Meneghini, William Olson, Christian D. Kummerow, Arthur Y. Hou, Mathew R. Schwaller, Erich F. Stocker, and John Kwiatkowski. 2013: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 94:11, 1653-1660
Reference Sources
Sep 15th, 2017
Kaylin Bugbee
Patrick Gatlin

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