During VORTEX-SE, researchers will have a new tool to assist them in the field. The Collaborative Lower Atmospheric Mobile Profiling System (CLAMPS) is a mobile trailer outfitted with commercially available remote sensing instruments. These instruments provide profiles of temperature, humidity and winds in the atmospheric boundary layer at high temporal resolution (~5 min). In this lower part of the atmosphere, storms can evolve very quickly with time, so it is vital to obtain precise measurements of temperature, humidity, and winds to capture its changes. Deploying the CLAMPS system in VORTEX-SE will enhance our understanding of how the BL is evolving and provide greater insight into storm development.


CLAMPS is made up of three main components. First, the Doppler Lidar is an active remote sensor that transmits pulses of laser energy into the atmosphere to detect atmospheric motion. By scanning the lidar’s telescope, profiles of horizontal and vertical winds can be derived, and by analyzing the data over time, researchers are able to get a measurement turbulence in the atmosphere. The second instrument is a multi-channel Microwave Radiometer. This tool measures downwelling radiation emitted by the atmosphere, from which researchers can deduce low vertical resolution profiles of temperature and water vapor. This helps to accurately determine the amount of liquid water in the overhead cloud. The third instrument is the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI), which also measures downwelling radiation emitted by the atmosphere, but in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. From these data, researchers are able to retrieve higher vertical resolution profiles of temperature and water vapor in the boundary layer, as well as the amount of both ice and liquid cloud water amounts. The AERI also provides information on the amounts of various trace gases in the atmosphere including CO2, N20, CH4, and CO.


Doppler lidar


Multi-channel Microwave Radiometer

aeri-clampsAtmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer

CLAMPS is a joint effort between NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory and the University of Oklahoma, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Initiative program. The trailer arrives in Huntsville, Alabama, on February 29 and will be set up to run automatically through the duration of the VORTEX-SE field campaign. VORTEX-SE runs from March 1 until April 30.

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