Ronald H. Brown's Radar Observes Drizzle
The R/V Ronald Brown has a scanning precipitation radar. This is a valuable research instrument. For the VOCALS project, it is an essential part of observing drizzle and making rain maps of the marine stratocumulus.
Marine stratocumulus occurs in two configurations: open-cell and closed-cell. The cells that compose a large area of marine stratocumulus arrange themselves in a honeycomb-like pattern. Closed-cell stratocumulus has cloud in the middle of the cell with clear areas along the edges of the cell. Open-cell stratocumulus has the opposite - cloud around the edges and an open area in the middle.
When we use the Ronald Brown's radar to observe drizzle, the drizzle patterns match the arrangement of the clouds for a given cell. The image for this postcard shows a radar scan from the Ronald Brown that captures the drizzle around an open cell. The ring-shaped pattern in the lower right denotes the drizzle that we expect to see around the edges of open-cell stratocumulus clouds.
VOCALS Research Results
Postcards from the Field: Climate Science from the Southeast Pacific