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    • 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
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      • 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

TCSP ER-2 Microwave Temperature Profiler (MTP)

Table of Contents

Instrument description
Data Products and Format
Contact Information


The Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) mission was conducted by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Costa Rica throughout the month of July, 2005. The goal of this mission was to help us better understand how hurricanes and other tropical storms are formed and intensify.

The Microwave Temperature Profiler (MTP), mounted on the right engine cheek of a NASA ER-2 research aircraft, collected these data during the TCSP field experiment. The ER-2 was used to overfly storms at high altitude.

The MTP retrieves profiles of air temperature versus altitude along an aircraft flight track. It does this by measuring the natural thermal microwave emission from oxygen molecules in the earth’s atmosphere, and then performing a statistical retrieval inversion procedure. This retrieval is based on an archive of thousands of atmospheric soundings that results in the most likely temperature profile given the measurements.

Instrument Description

The airborne MTP instrument is a passive microwave radiometer that measures thermal emission from oxygen molecules along the viewing direction. A stepper motor rotates a 45-degree shaped reflector so that radiation entering a receiving horn is sequenced through a set of 10 elevation angles, ranging from -58.2 to +60.0 degrees (within a vertical plane that is offset 20 degrees in azimuth from the direction of flight). At each viewing position a local oscillator is sequenced through two frequencies: 56.66 and 58.80 GHz. Each 14-second observing cycle produces a set of 20 brightness temperatures, which are converted by a linear retrieval algorithm to a profile of air temperature versus altitude. Altitude coverage is 15 to 25 km while flying at 19 km. T(z) profiles are obtained every 2.9 km along the flight path.

Much more detailed information about the instrument can be obtained from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, the instrument owner. They have an outstanding web site located at . This site has a link to an excellent tutorial, A Layperson's Guide to Remote Temperature Sounding.

Data Products and Format

The ASCII data file naming convention is:


where TCSP identifies the field mission, MTP identifies the instrument, yyyymmdd is the four digit year, month, and "day of month", MP identifies that the data is from the microwave profiler, and txt shows that these data are in ASCII format (Gaines-Hipskind). The data files have a large descriptive header, which describes in detail the format of the data which follows. An example is shown below:

62 2110
M/S 246-102; Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
ER-2 Microwave Temperature Profiler (MTP/ER2)
1 1
2005 06 18 2006 03 16 20050001 {FLT DATE, REDUCTION DATE & FLIGHT NUMBER}
0.0 0.0
Remote sensing altitude (meters)
Elapsed UT seconds from 0 hours on day given by DATE
4 {NV = number of primary variables: temp, SEtemp, Zg, #density}
1.0 1.0 1.0 1E+21 {scale factors for primary variables: temp, SEtemp, Zg, #densit y}
99999 9999 99999 99999 {missing values for primary variables: temp, SEtemp, Zg, #densi ty}
Retrieved air temperature (K)
Standard error of retrieved air temperture (K)
Geometric altitude (meters).
Molecular air density (number per cubic meter)
13 {number of auxiliary variables}
1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
99 99.999 99.9 99.9 999.9 99.9 99.9 999.9 999.9 99.999 999.999 999.9 9.99
NX(1) is the number of altitudes in subsequent data records
Pressure altitude of ER-2 (km)
Aircraft pitch (deg)
Aircraft roll (deg)
Horizon brightness temperature (ie, OAT, similar to SAT); avg ch1 & ch2(K)
Tropopause #1 (km).
Tropopause #2 (km).
Potential temperature of tropopause #1 (K).
Potential temperature of tropopause #2 (K).
Latitude (deg)
Longitude (deg)
dT/dz (K/km) for 1.0 km layer centered on aircraft flight altitude.
MRI (-) a retrieval quality metric
8 {number of special comment lines}
*** Users of this data are strongly encouraged to discuss their use with the PI
*** More information at URL:
19 {number of normally included comment lines}
Here's a brief tutorial on how to decipher the MTP data: Data groups
consist of the following group of lines per 15-second observing cycle.
First line is: UTSEC, number of retrieval levels in following table, Pressure
Altitude, Pitch, Roll, Outside air temp (K), tropopause altitude #1 (km),
tropopause altitude #2 (km) [if present], potential temperatures of tropopause
#1 and #2, latitude, longitude, lapse rate near flight level, & a retrieval quality me tric..
The 1-liners (for each cycle) can be stripped & imported into a spreadsheet
for convenient plotting of trop altitude, lapse rate, etc. The tropopause
altitudes are calculated by cubic spline interpolation of the retrieved
altitudes using the WMO definition (that is, trop #1 is lowest altitude
where average lapse rate > -2 K/km from initial -2 K/km point to any point
within 2 km; trop #2 occurs above first trop after lapse rate is < -3K/km
for >1 km, and then first trop definition applies, possibly from within
the 1 km region.)
Remaining set of lines for each cycle consist of 5 columns: col#1 is pressure
altitude (meters), col#2 is temperature from MTP (Kelvin), col#3 is temperature
error estimate (K), col#4 is geometric altitude (meters), based on GPS
altitude (meters), and col#5 is molecular air density [1E+21/m3].

49564 0 0.692 3.9 -0.2 274.2 15.0 99.9 330.7 999.9 34.924 -117.885 5.6 2.00
49579 0 0.692 3.9 -0.2 274.2 15.1 99.9 332.4 999.9 34.924 -117.885 3.8 2.00

The browse images consist of a flight track image and a data image for each ER-2 flight. examples of the file names are shown below.


where yyyymmdd is the year, 2 digit month, and "day of month". These image files may be viewed with almost any image viewer and samples appear below:


Ling Wang, M. Joan Alexander, Thaopaul V. Bui, and Michael J. Mahoney, Small-Scale Gravity Waves in ER-2 MMS/MTP Wind and Temperature Measurements during CRYSTAL-FACE, to be submitted to Atmos. Chem. Phys, September 2005.

Christina L. Smith, John W. Nielsen-Gammon, M.J. Mahoney, Wayne Angevine, Carl Berkowitz, Christof Senff, Allen White, Christopher Doran, and Kevin Knupp, An intercomparison of mixing height estimates using radiosonde, radar wind profilers, airborne aerosol backscatter lidar, and airborne microwave temperature profiler, to be submitted to JGR-Atmospheres, September 2005.

P. J. Popp, T. P. Marcy, E. J. Jensen, B. Karcher, D. W. Fahey, R. S. Gao, T. L. Thompson, K. Rosenlof, E. C. Richard, R. L. Herman, E. M. Weinstock, J. B. Smith, R. D. May, J. C. Wilson, A. J. Heymsfield, M. J. Mahoney, and A. M. Thompson, The observation of nitric-acid containing particles in the tropical lower stratosphere, to be submitted to Science.

Jasna V. Pittman, Elliot M. Weinstock, David S. Sayres, Jessica B. Smith, James G. Anderson, Owen R. Cooper, Steven C. Wofsy, Irene Xueref, Cristof Gerbig, Bruce C. Daube, Erik C. Richard, Brian A. Ridley, Andrew Weinheimer, Max Lowenstein, Hans-Jurg Jost, Jimena P. Lopez, Michael J. Mahoney, and Thomas L. Thompson, Identifying transport pathways into the subtropical lowermost stratosphere during the summertime, to be submitted to JGR.

D. Lowe, A. R. MacKenzie, H. Schlager, C. Voigt, A. Dornbrack, M. J. Mahoney, and F. Cairo, Liquid Particle Composition and Heterogeneous Reactions in a Mountain Wave Polar Stratospheric Cloud, submitted to Atmos. Chem. Phys. (Discuss.)

B. Gamblin, O.B. Toon, Y. Kondo, N. Takegawa, H. Irie, M. Koike, P. K. Hudson, M. A. Tolbert, J. O. Ballenthin, D. E. Hunton, T. M. Miller, A. A. Viggiano, B. E. Anderson, M. Avery, G. W. Sachse, K. Guenther, C. Sorenson, M. J. Mahoney, Non-HNO3 Constituent of Noy Condensing on Low Temperature Upper Tropospheric Cirrus Cloud Particles, to be submitted to JGR May 2004.

T. P. Marcy, D.W. Fahey, R. S. Gao, P.J. Popp, E. C. Richard, T. L. Thompson, K. H. Rosenlof, E. A. Ray, R. J. Salawitch, B. A. Ridley, M. Lowenstein, J. C. Wilson, E. M. Weinstock, M. J. Mahoney, R. L. Herman, Quantifying Stratospheric Ozone in the Upper Troposphere Using in situ Measurements of HCl, Science, 9 April 2004: 261-265. (PDF File of paper: 0.8 MB)

Tomoko Kojima, Peter R. Buseck, James C. Wilson, J. Michael Reeves, and Michael J. Mahoney, Aerosol particles from tropical convective systems: 1. Cloud tops and cirrus anvils, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D12201, doi:1029/2004JD004504.

L. L. Pan, W. J. Randel, E. Browell, B. G. Gary, M. J. Mahoney, and E. J. Hintsa, Definitions and sharpness of the extratropical tropopause: A trace gas perspective, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D23103, doi:10.1029/2004JD004982.

B. Ridley, L.Ott, K. Pickering, L. Emmons, D.Montzka, A. Weinheimer, D. Knapp, F. Grahek, L. Li, G. Heymsfield, M. McGill, P. Kuecera, M. J. Mahoney, G. Brasseur, Florida thunderstorms: A faucet of reactive nitrogen to the upper troposphere, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D17305, doi:10.1029/2004JD004769.

P. J. Popp, R. S. Gao, T. P. Marcy, D. W. Fahey, P. K. Hudson, T. L. Thompson, B. Karcher, B. A. Ridley, A. J. Weinheimer, D. J. Knapp, D. D. Montzka, D. Baumgardner, T. J. Garrett, E. M. Weinstock, S. Dhaniyala, T. P. Bui, M. J. Mahoney, Nitric Acid Uptake, on Subtropical Cirrus Cloud Particles, J. Geophys. Res., 109, D06302, doi:10.1029/2003JD004255.

B. Ridley, E. Atlas, H. Selkirk, L. Pfister, D. Montzka, S. Donnelly, V. Stroud, E. Richard, K. Kelly, A. Tuck, T. Thompson, C. Brock, C. Wilson, D. Baumgardner, M. Mahoney, R. Herman, R. Freidl, J. Elkins, F. Moore, M. Ross, D. Anderson, Convective transport of reactive constituents to the tropical and mid-latitude tropopause region: I. Observations, Atmos. Environ., 38, 1259-1274, 2004.

Contact Information

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