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A new generation of ground-based mobile platforms for active and passive profiling of the boundary layer


SPARC and CLAMPS are similarly-equipped mobile ground-based remote sensing facilities that provide high-temporal resolution temperature, humidity, and wind profiles in the atmospheric boundary layer for a range of scientific studies, and also are examples of possible nodes in a future observing network.

Mobile systems equipped with remote sensing instruments capable of simultaneous profiling of temperature, moisture, and wind at high temporal resolutions can offer insights into atmospheric phenomena that the operational network cannot. Two recently developed systems, the SSEC Portable Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC) and the Collaborative Lower Atmosphere Profiling System (CLAMPS) have already experienced great success in characterizing a variety of phenomena. Each system contains an Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer for thermodynamic profiling and a Halo Photonics Streamline Doppler wind lidar for kinematic profiles. These instruments are augmented with various in situ and remote sensing instruments to provide a comprehensive assessment of the evolution of the lower troposphere at a high temporal resolution (5 min or better). While SPARC and CLAMPS can be deployed independently, the common instrument configuration means that joint deployments with well-coordinated data collection and analysis routines are easily facilitated.

In the past several years, SPARC and CLAMPS have participated in numerous field campaigns, which range from mesoscale campaigns that require the rapid deployment and teardown of observing systems to multi-week fixed deployments, providing crucial insights into the behavior of many different atmospheric boundary layer processes while training the next generation of atmospheric scientists. As calls for a nationwide ground-based profiling network continue, SPARC and CLAMPS can play an important role as testbeds and prototype nodes for such a network.

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