NASA GHRC Collaboration between NASA MSFC and The University of Alabama in Huntsville
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  • Measurements
  • Field Campaigns
    • Hurricane Science
      • GHRC has worked with NASA's Hurricane Science Research Program (HSRP) since the 1990's. We are the archive and distribution center for data collected during HSRP field campaigns, as well as the recent Hurricane Science and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) Earth Venture mission. Field campaigns provide for intensive observation of specific phenomena using a variety of instruments on aircraft, satellites and surface networks.

        GHRC also hosts a database of Atlantic and Pacific tropical storm tracks derived from the storm data published by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
    • HS3 (2012-14)
      • Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) is an Earth Ventures – Suborbital 1 mission aimed at better understanding the physical processes that control hurricane intensity change, addressing questions related to the roles of environmental conditions and internal storm structures to storm intensification.

        A variety of in-situ, satellite observations, airborne data, meteorological analyses, and simulation data were collected with missions over the Atlantic in August and September of three observation years (2012, 2013, 2014). These data are available at GHRC beginning in 2015.
    • GRIP (2010)
      • The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment was a NASA Earth science field experiment in 2010 that was conducted to better understand how tropical storms form and develop into major hurricanes.

        The GRIP deployment was 15 August – 30 September 2010 with bases in Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the DC-8, at Houston, TX for the WB-57, and at NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, CA for the Global Hawk.
    • TC4 (2007)
      • The NASA TC4 (Tropical Composition, Cloud and Climate Coupling) mission investigated the structure and properties of the chemical, dynamic, and physical processes in atmosphere of the tropical Eastern Pacific.

        TC4 was based in San Jose, Costa Rica during July 2007.

        The Real Time Mission Monitor provided simultaneous aircraft status for three aircraft during the TC4 experiment. During TC4, the NASA ER-2, WB-57 and DC-8 aircraft flew missions at various times. The science flights were scheduled between 17 July and 8 August 2007.
    • NAMMA (2006)
      • The NASA African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (NAMMA) campaign was a field research investigation based in the Cape Verde Islands, 350 miles off the coast of Senegal in west Africa.

        Commenced in August 2006, NASA scientists employed surface observation networks and aircraft to characterize the evolution and structure of African Easterly Waves (AEWs) and Mesoscale Convective Systems over continental western Africa, and their associated impacts on regional water and energy budgets.
    • TCSP (2005)
      • The Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) mission was an Earth science field research investigation focused on the study of the dynamics and thermodynamics of precipitating cloud systems and tropical cyclones. TCSP was conducted during the period July 1-27, 2005 out of the Juan Santamaria Airfield in San Jose, Costa Rica.

        The TCSP field experiment flew 12 NASA ER-2 science flights, including missions to Hurricanes Dennis and Emily, Tropical Storm Gert and an eastern Pacific mesoscale complex that may possibly have further developed into Tropical Storm Eugene.
    • ACES (2002)
      • The Altus Cumulus Electrification Study (ACES) was aimed at better understanding the causes and effects of electrical storms.

        Based at the Naval Air Station Key West in Florida, researchers in August 2002 chased down thunderstorms using an uninhabited aerial vehicle, or "UAV", allowing them to achieve dual goals of gathering weather data safely and testing new aircraft technology. This marked the first time a UAV was used to conduct lightning research.
    • CAMEX-4 (2001)
      • The Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) was a series of NASA-sponsored hurricane science field research investigations. The fourth field campaign in the CAMEX series (CAMEX-4) was held in 16 August - 24 September, 2001 and was based out of Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida.

        CAMEX-4 was focused on the study of tropical cyclone (hurricane) development, tracking, intensification, and landfalling impacts using NASA-funded aircraft and surface remote sensing instrumentation.
    • CAMEX-3 (1998)
      • The Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) is a series of hurricane science field research investigations sponsored by NASA. The third field campaign in the CAMEX series (CAMEX-3) was based at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida from 6 August - 23 September, 1998.

        CAMEX-3 successfully studied Hurricanes Bonnie, Danielle, Earl and Georges, yielding data on hurricane structure, dynamics, and motion. CAMEX-3 collected data for research in tropical cyclone development, tracking, intensification, and landfalling impacts using NASA-funded aircraft and surface remote sensing instrumentation.
    • GPM Ground Validation
      • The NASA Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) Ground Validation (GV) program includes the following field campaigns:

        a) LPVEx, Gulf of Finland in autumn 2010, to study rainfall in high latitude environments

        b) MC3E, cental Oklahoma spring and early summer 2011, to develop a complete characterization of convective cloud systems, precipitation and the environment

        c) GCPEx, Ontario, Canada winter of 2011-2012, direct and remove sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of precipitating snow.

        d) IFloodS, Iowa, spring and early summer 2013, to study the relative roles of rainfall quantities and other factors in flood genesis.

        e) IPHEx, N. Carolina Appalachians/Piedmont region May-June 2014, for hydrologic validation over varied topography.

        f) OLYMPEx, Washington's Olympic Peninsula scheduled November 2015-February 2016, for hydrologic validation in extreme coastal and topographic gradients
    • OLYMPEX (Upcoming)
      • The OLYMPEX field campaign is scheduled to take place between November, 2015, and February, 2016, on the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

        This field campaign will provide ground-based validation support of the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite program that is a joint effort between NASA and JAXA.

        As for all GPM-GV campaigns, the GHRC will provide a collaboration portal to help investigators exchange planning information and to support collection of real-time data as well as mission science, project and instrument status reports during the campaign.
    • IPHEx (2014)
      • The Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx) was conducted in North Carolina during the months of April-June, 2014.

        IPHEx sought to characterize warm season orographic precipitation regimes, and the relationship between precipitation regimes and hydrologic processes in regions of complex terrain.
    • IFLOODs (2013)
      • The Iowa Flood Studies (IFloodS) experiment was conducted in the central to northeastern part of Iowa in Midwestern United States during the months of April-June, 2013.

        IFloodS' primary goal was to discern the relative roles of rainfall quantities such as rate and accumulation as compared to other factors (e.g. transport of water in the drainage network) in flood genesis.
    • GCPEX (2011-2012)
      • The GPM Cold-season Precipitation Experiment (GCPEx) occurred in Ontario, Canada during the winter season (Jan 15- Feb 26) of 2011-2012.

        GCPEx addressed shortcomings in GPM snowfall retrieval algorithm by collecting microphysical properties, associated remote sensing observations, and coordinated model simulations of precipitating snow. Collectively the GCPEx data set provides a high quality, physically-consistent and coherent data set suited to the development and testing of GPM snowfall retrieval algorithm physics.
    • MC3E (2011)
      • The Mid-latitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) took place in central Oklahoma during the April–June 2011 period.

        The overarching goal was to provide the most complete characterization of convective cloud systems, precipitation, and the environment that has ever been obtained, providing constraints for model cumulus parameterizations and space-based rainfall retrieval algorithms over land that had never before been available.
    • LPVEx (2010)
      • 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
  • Projects
    • HS3 Suborbital Mission
      • Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) is an Earth Ventures – Suborbital 1 mission aimed at better understanding the physical processes that control hurricane intensity change, addressing questions related to the roles of environmental conditions and internal storm structures to storm intensification.
      • DISCOVER was funded by NASA’s MEaSUREs program to provide highly accurate, multi-decadal geophysical products derived from satellite microwave sensors.
    • LIS Mission
      • Lightning observations from the Lightning Imaging Sensors (LIS) aboard the NASA’s TRMM satellite and International Space Station, as well as airborne observations and ground validation data.
    • SANDS
      • The SANDS project addressed Gulf of Mexico Alliance priority issues by generating enhanced imagery from MODIS and Landsat data to identify suspended sediment resulting from tropical cyclones. These tropical cyclones have significantly altered normal coastal processes and characteristics in the Gulf region through sediment disturbance.
      • The Land, Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE) system provides access to near real-time data (less than 3 hours from observation) from AIRS, AMSR2, MLS, MODIS, and OMI instruments. LANCE AMSR2 products are generated by the AMSR Science Investigator-led Processing System at the GHRC.
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Guide Documents

Dataset PI Documents

Dataset Software


Table of Contents

Instrument description
Data Products
Data Format
Contact Information


The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Mobile Integrated Profiling System (MIPS) includes a 915 MHz Doppler profiler, lidar ceilometer, 12 channel microwave profiling radiometer, Doppler Sodar, Radio Acoustic Sounding System (RASS), Field Mills, and surface observing stations.

This dataset consists of data derived from the MIPS SODAR as described below.

Instrument Description

The Doppler SODAR operates much in the same manner as a Doppler radar, with the exception of the transmitted frequency. While radars operate transmitting microwaves, SODARs operate by transmitting sound waves, and are used to determine the three dimensional wind field in the lower boundary layer.

The UAH MIPS SODAR transmits in the near 2000 Hz frequency range, and is tunable between 1800-2200 Hz. Instead of measuring reflectivity of the raindrops as does the radar, the SODAR transmitted pulse is scattered by fluctuations in the refractive index of the air. Several things may cause these fluctuations; temperature and/or humidity variations or gradients, as well as wind shear. But, because of the geometry of the system the SODAR is mainly sensitive to thermal fluctuations.

The strength of the reflected signal depends strongly upon the size of the fluctuations, and is restricted to a value of half the wavelength of the signal (lambda/2). From the movement of the fluctuation (imagine a slight temperature gradient, or bubble as the target) wind direction and speed are determined as the fluctuation moves with the wind field through the beams. Vertical velocities may be derived directly from the vertical beam using the Doppler shift of the received signal. By arranging other sound transmitters orthogonally from each other and tilted at approximately 15 degrees off of vertical, three dimensional wind fields may be calculated.

The pulse repetition period is about 6 seconds, and the vertical beam is sampled at periods of about 20 seconds. Input from these samples are combined to produce consensus winds along with the spectral moments along each beam about every 15 minutes. These data also provide information about the boundary layer stability and turbulence characteristics.

Data Products

This dataset consists of cdf and mom files tarred together for a day. The "cdf" file is a consensus data file, and reports 15 minute average 3-D wind profiles from the Doppler SODAR starting at the beginning of each day. The "mom" file is a momentum file and contains data from each beam about radial velocity and backscattter intensity. Each horizontal beam is approximately 7 seconds apart; vertical beams are approximately 21 seconds apart.

Data Format

Data for one day is tarred into a file whose name is of the form c4gmipsod_2001.jjj.tar, where c4gmipsod indicates that the data came from the CAMEX-4 experiment and the ground based MIPS SODAR in the year 2001 on the day of the year jjj. These daily files are then tarred together.

When untarred, the data appears in two separate files. The first is named ECH1MMDD.CDF, and the second is ECH1MMDD.MOM where ECH indicates that these are SODAR (or echo sounder) files, 1 indicates the last digit of the year (2001) MMDD is the month and day of the month. The extension CDF or MOM describes this file as either a consensus data file or momentum file as described above.

The momentum file contains basic instrument settings, as well as averaged moments and signal to noise ratio data used to calculate the winds aloft provided in the CDF file. Both files are ASCII, and are fairly self evident.

And example of the CDF file is shown below. Note that there is a header section that precedes the actual data. The output data then repeats at approximately 15 minute intervals through the dataset.

CDF Type:  Wind            Program:   echosonde             Version: 3.0.1

Station:            echosonde                                                 
Date:               09/07/01            Julian Day:         250               
Filename:                               Validation Level:   0.0               
Created by:         echosonde V. 3.0.1  Created on:         09/07/01  1530  
Elev. (m msl):      0000                Elev. (ft msl):     0000              
Lat (dec deg):      00.00000 n          Long (dec deg):     000.00000 w       
UTMN (km):          0000.000            UTME (km):          0000.000          
Time Zone:          cst                 Diff. to UTC (hr):  6                 
Mode Number:        2                   Mode Title:         Echosonde Winds   

Avg. Int. (min):      15                Time Convention     End               
Pulse Len. (m):     0026                Spacing (m):          25              
Max.Samples:        000 000 000         Req. Samples:       000 000 000       
Ant. Azimuth (deg): 362 092 092         Ant. Elev. (deg):   075 075 090       

QC Code Definition:    0=Valid,   1=Estimated,   7=Suspect,   8=Invalid
Data Code Definition: -940=Failed QC,   -950=Failed Consensus,
                      -960=Exceeded Nyquist Vel., -980=Flagged by Reviewer
                      -999=Missing or Not Reported

Time    # of Gates  Radar Parameter Changes
HHMM    NNN         N
QC   Height    WS     WD      u       v       w    No. in Cns     SNR (db)
Code (m agl) (m/s)  (deg)   (m/s)   (m/s)   (m/s)   3   1  0    3   1   0 
1530     27         0
 0     50       2.9   56.   -2.40   -1.63    1.42   7   8   7   9   8   9 
 0     75       3.3   52.   -2.58   -2.02   -0.06   7   8   7   8   6   8 
 0    100       3.7   60.   -3.18   -1.85   -0.06   7   8   7   7   6   8 
 0    125       3.8   62.   -3.40   -1.79    0.00   7   8   7   6   4   8 
 0    150       3.3   65.   -2.97   -1.41   -0.14   7   8   7   4   4   8 
 0    175       2.7   54.   -2.23   -1.60   -0.09   7   8   7   5   4   8 
 0    200       3.1   42.   -2.10   -2.30   -0.05   7   8   7   3   3   8 
 8    225    -950.0 -950.   15.97   -1.54   -0.15   7   8   7   4  -3   3 
 8    250    -950.0 -950.   16.28   -2.73   -0.07   7   8   7   2  -1  -1 
 8    275    -950.0 -950.   15.78   22.47   -0.06   7   8   7  -5  -6   0 
 8    300    -950.0 -950.   15.76   17.91   -0.03   7   8   7   1   0   1 
 8    325    -950.0 -950.   16.14   -8.22   -0.39   7   8   7 -10  -4  -4 
 8    350    -950.0 -950.   19.78   13.93    1.19   7   8   7  -6  -5  20 
 8    375    -950.0 -950.   -1.06    7.67    4.86   7   8   7  -2  -2  20 
 8    400    -950.0 -950.   24.37   23.57   -1.68   7   8   7  -2  -3  20 
 8    425    -950.0 -950.   30.36   31.05   -3.20   7   8   7  -2  -3 -11 
 8    450    -950.0 -950.   -3.36    1.05    4.47   7   8   7  -2  -1  -7 
 8    475    -950.0 -950.  -41.69  -34.96   14.53   7   8   7  -1  -3  20 
 8    500    -950.0 -950.   39.18   38.31   -5.46   7   8   7   0   0  -7 
 8    525    -950.0 -950.   33.45   33.76   -4.37   7   8   7  -4  -1  -5 
 8    550    -950.0 -950.   34.85   34.17   -4.69   7   8   7  -3  -5  -5 
 8    575    -950.0 -950.   -2.80   -2.49    5.16   7   8   7  -1  -2  -5 
 8    600    -950.0 -950.   -8.54   -1.29    5.42   7   8   7  -2  -3  -4 
 8    625    -950.0 -950.   -3.75    3.17    4.84   7   8   7  -1  -3 -13 
 8    650    -950.0 -950.   -5.37   -1.40    5.43   7   8   7  -1  -2  -8 
 8    675    -950.0 -950.   33.90   -0.03   -4.64   7   8   7  -3   0 -13 
 8    700    -950.0 -950.   -3.42    4.34    4.95   7   8   7  -5   0 -10

Contact Information

The data producer is:

Dr. Kevin Knupp
320 Sparkman Dr.
Huntsville, AL  35805

To order these data or for further information, please contact:

Global Hydrology Resource Center
User Services
320 Sparkman Drive
Huntsville, AL 35805
Phone: 256-961-7932



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