U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. (2011) 137: 306–324; DOI:10.1002/qj.748


In 2007, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Mobile Facility (AMF) was operated for a nine-month period in the Murg Valley, Black Forest, Germany, in support of the Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study (COPS). The synergy of AMF and COPS partner instrumentation was exploited to derive a set of high-quality thermodynamic and cloud property profiles with 30 s resolution. In total, clouds were present 72% of the time, with multi-layer mixed phase (28.4%) and single-layer water clouds (11.3%) occurring most frequently. A comparison with the Cloudnet sites Chilbolton and Lindenberg for the same time period revealed that the Murg Valley exhibits lower liquid water paths (LWPs; median = 37.5 g m−2) compared to the two sites located in flat terrain. In order to evaluate the derived thermodynamic and cloud property profiles, a radiative closure study was performed with independent surface radiation measurements. In clear sky, average differences between calculated and observed surface fluxes are less than 2% and 4%for the short wave and long wave part, respectively. In cloudy situations, differences between simulated and observed fluxes, particularly in the short wave part, are much larger, but most of these can be related to broken cloud situations. The daytime cloud radiative effect (CRE), i.e. the difference of cloudy and clear-sky net fluxes, has been analysed for the whole nine-month period. For overcast, single-layer water clouds, sensitivity studies revealed that the CRE uncertainty is likewise determined by uncertainties in liquid water content and effective radius. For low LWP clouds, CRE uncertainty is dominated by LWP uncertainty; therefore refined retrievals, such as using infrared and/or higher microwave frequencies, are needed.