Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 131, Issue 6, pp 1723–1738 | Cite as

Cloud microphysical profile differences pertinent to monsoon phases: inferences from a cloud radar

  • Patra Sukanya
  • M. C. R. KalapureddyEmail author
Original Paper


Microphysical evolution of tropical clouds in the core monsoon region of India is examined for the first time using ground-based cloud radar measurements. Combining high-resolution radar reflectivity (Z) profiles with empirical relations, cloud microphysical profiles in terms of cloud ice/liquid water content (IWC/LWC) during Indian summer monsoon (ISM) season are retrieved. Though the study is carried out using a point observation, it is shown that it represents the large-scale monsoon flow over the radar site. Cloud radar measurements during ISM period are classified into active and break ISM days. Radar-derived IWC profiles are validated against CloudSat, whereas LWC profiles are validated using the collocated microwave radiometer and microphysical observations from in situ aircraft measurements. The validated IWC and LWC profiles show significant differences between active and break ISM phases including their diurnal evolution. Larger (smaller) IWC values observed during active (break) days reveal the microphysical activity associated with the contrasting cloud vertical structure in the respective ISM phases. Observed discontinuity in the cloud vertical structure during break ISM days is attributed to the lack of moist convection. The significance of the present study lies in reporting the first ground-based radar measurements of cloud microphysical properties during active and break ISM period and discussing their distinctiveness.



IITM is an autonomous organization that is fully funded by MOES, Govt. of India. Authors are thankful to director, IITM, not only for his wholehearted support for strengthening the radar program but also for monitoring and mentoring the radar research to the next heights. The authors are highly indebted to G. Pandithurai for the discussions and encouragement provided on the research work. We are equally grateful to all those who were involved and helped in setting up and running the IITM’s Cloud Radar Facility. KaSPR design and development was done at M/s Prosensing. Authors are grateful to CAIPEEX team for the aircraft observations. The CloudSat data were obtained from their Web page at and ERA-Interim data from the ECMWF ( The data supporting this article can be requested to the IITM radar data portal or corresponding author ( We are grateful to MAAP reviewers for their constructive comments and concern for quality that helped to hone the presentation outlook of this work and editor and their team for their all value services.

Supplementary material

703_2019_666_MOESM1_ESM.doc (174 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 174 kb)


  1. Abhik S, Halder M, Mukhopadhyay P, Jiang X, Goswami BN (2013) A possible new mechanism for northward propagation of boreal summer intraseasonal oscillations based on TRMM and MERRA reanalysis. Clim Dyn. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atlas D (1954) The estimation of cloud parameters by radar. J Meteorol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Austin RT, Heymsfield AJ, Stephens GL (2009) Retrieval of ice cloud microphysical parameters using the CloudSat millimeter-wave radar and temperature. J Geophys Res Atmos. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baedi RJP, de Wit JJM, Russchenberg HWJ, Erkelens JS, Baptista JP (2000) Estimating effective radius and liquid water content from radar and lidar based on the CLARE98 data-set. Phys Chem Earth B. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baedi R, Boers R, Russchenberg H (2002) Detection of boundary layer water clouds by space borne cloud radar. J Atmos Ocean Technol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Das SK, Uma KN, Konwar M, Raj PE, Deshpande SM, Kalapureddy MCR (2013) CloudSat–CALIPSO characterizations of cloud during the active and the break periods of Indian summer monsoon. J Atmos Solar Terr Phys. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dee DP, Uppala SM, Simmons AJ, Berrisford P, Poli P, Kobayashi S, Andrae U, Balmaseda MA, Balsamo G, Bauer DP, Bechtold P (2011) The ERA-Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system. Q J R Meteorol Soc. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Devasthale A, Grassl H (2009) A daytime climatological distribution of high opaque ice cloud classes over the Indian summer monsoon region observed from 25-year AVHRR data. Atmos Chem Phys. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Donovan DP, Lammeren ACAP (2001) Cloud effective particle size and water content profile retrievals using combined lidar and radar observations: 1. Theory and examples. J Geophys Res Atmos. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Donovan DP, Lammeren ACAP, Hogan RJ, Russchenberg HWJ, Apituley A, Francis P, Testud J, Pelon J, Quante M, Goddard J (2001) Cloud effective particle size and water content profile retrievals using combined lidar and radar observations: 2. Comparison with IR radiometer and in situ measurements of ice clouds. J Geophys Res Atmos. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ellis SM, Vivekanandan J (2011) Liquid water content estimates using simultaneous S and Ka band radar measurements. Radio Sci. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fox NI, Illingworth AJ (1997) The retrieval of stratocumulus cloud properties by ground-based cloud radar. J Appl Meteorol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frisch AS, Fairall CW, Snider JB (1995) Measurements of stratus cloud and drizzle parameters in ASTEX with a Ka-band Doppler radar and microwave radiometer. J Atmos Sci.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Frisch AS, Feingold G, Fairall CW, Uttal T, Snider JB (1998) On cloud radar and microwave radiometer measurements of stratus cloud liquid-water profiles. J Geophys Res. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frisch AS, Martner BE, Djalalova I, Poellot MR (2000) Comparison of radar/radiometer retrievals of stratus cloud liquid-water content profiles with in situ measurements by aircraft. J Geophys Res. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gadgil S (2003) The Indian monsoon and its variability. Annu Rev Earth Planet Sci. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gaussiat N, Sauvageot H, Illingworth AJ (2003) Cloud liquid water and ice content retrieval by multi-wavelength radar. J Atmos Ocean Technol 20:1264–1275.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gossard EE, Snider JB, Clothiaux EE, Martner B, Gibson JS, Kropi RA, Frisch AS (1997) The potential of 8-mm radars for remotely sensing cloud drop size distributions. J Atmos Ocean Technol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goswami BN, Ajaya Mohan RS (2001) Intraseasonal oscillations and interannual variability of the Indian summer monsoon. J Clim.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Goswami BN, Ajayamohan RS, Xavier PK, Sengupta D (2003) Clustering of synoptic activity by Indian summer monsoon intraseasonal oscillations. Geophys Res Lett. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grund CJ, Banta RM, George JL, Howell JN, Post MJ, Richter RA, Weickmann AM (2001) High-resolution Doppler lidar for boundary layer and cloud research. J Atmos Ocean Technol 18(3):376–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Han Y, Westwater ER (1995) Remote sensing of tropospheric water vapor and cloud liquid water by integrated ground-based sensors. J Atmos Ocean Technol 12(5):1050–1059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hazra A, Chaudhari HS, Saha SK, Pokhrel S (2017) Effect of cloud microphysics on Indian summer monsoon precipitating clouds: a coupled climate modeling study. J Geophys Res Atmos. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Heymsfield A, Miloshevich JLM, Schmitt C, Bansemer A, Twohy C, Poellot MR, Fridlind A, Gerber H (2005) Homogeneous ice nucleation in subtropical and tropical convection and its influence on cirrus anvil microphysics. J Atmos Sci. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hogan RJ, Gaussiat N, Illingworth AJ (2005) Stratocumulus liquid water content from dual-wavelength radar. J Atmos Ocean Technol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hogan RJ, Mittermaier MP, Illingworth AJ (2006) The retrieval of ice water content from radar reflectivity factor and temperature and its use in evaluating a mesoscale model. J Appl Meteorol Clim. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Houze RA, Wilton DC, Smull BF (2007) Monsoon convection in the Himalayan region as seen by the TRMM precipitation radar. Q J R Meteorol Soc 133(627):1389–1411Google Scholar
  28. Intrieri JM, Stephens GL, Eberhard WL, Uttal T (1993) A method for determining cirrus cloud particle sizes using lidar and radar backscatter technique. J Appl Meteorol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kalapureddy MCR, Rao DN, Jain AR, Ohno Y (2007) Wind profiler observations of a monsoon low-level jet over a tropical Indian station. Ann Geophys. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kalapureddy MCR, Sukanya P, Das SK, Deshpande SM, Pandithurai G, Pazamany AL, Ambuj KJ, Chakravarty K, Kalekar P, Devisetty HK, Annam S (2018) A simple biota removal algorithm for 35 GHz cloud radar measurements. Atmos Meas Tech. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Khain A, Pinsky M, Magaritz L, Krasnov O, Russchenberg HWJ (2008) Combined observational and model investigations of the Z–LWC relationship in stratocumulus clouds. J Appl Meteorol Climatol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kollias P, Clothiaux E, Miller M, Albrecht B, Ackerman GT (2007) Millimeter-wavelength radars: new frontier in atmospheric cloud and precipitation research. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 88:1608–1624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Konwar M, Das SK, Deshpande SM, Chakravarty K, Goswami BN (2014) Microphysics of clouds and rain over the Western Ghat. J Geophys Res Atmos. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Krasnov OA, Russchenberg HWJ (2002) The relation between the radar to lidar ratio and the effective radius of droplets in water clouds: an analysis of statistical models and observed drop size distributions. In: 11th conference on cloud physics. American Meteor Society, Ogden UT, p 1.7 (preprint) Google Scholar
  35. Liljegren JC, Clothiaux EE, Mace GG, Kato S, Dong X (2001) A new retrieval for cloud liquid water path using a ground-based microwave radiometer and measurements of cloud temperature. J Geophys Res Atmos 106(D13):14485–14500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Liou KN (1992) Radiation and cloud processes in the atmosphere theory, observation, and modeling. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. Liu CL, Illingworth AJ (2000) Toward more accurate retrievals of ice water content from radar measurements of clouds. J Appl Meteorol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mace GG, Sassen K (2000) A constrained algorithm for retrieval of stratocumulus cloud properties using solar radiation microwave radiometer and millimeter cloud radar data. J Geophys Res 105:29099–29108. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mace GG, Ackerman TP, Minnis P, Young DF (1998) Cirrus layer microphysical properties derived from surface-based millimeter radar and infrared interferometer data. J Geophys Res. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Matrosov SY (1997) Variability of microphysical parameters in high-altitude ice clouds: results of the remote sensing method. J Appl Meteorol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Matrosov SY (1999) Retrievals of vertical profiles of ice cloud microphysics from radar and IR measurements using tuned regressions between reflectivity and cloud parameters. J Geophys Res Atmos. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nair AKM, Rajeev K, Mishra MK, Thampi BV, Parameswaran K (2012) Multiyear lidar observations of the descending nature of tropical cirrus clouds. J Geophys Res Atmos. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pai DS, Sridhar L, Kumar R (2016) Active and break events of Indian summer monsoon during 1901–2014. Clim Dyn. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Protat A, Delanoe J, Bouniol D, Heymsfield AJ, Bansemer A, Brown P (2007) Evaluation of ice water content retrievals from cloud radar reflectivity and temperature using a large airborne in situ microphysical database. J Appl Meteorol Clim. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Raghavan K (1973) Break-monsoon over India. Mon Weather Rev 101(1):33–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rajeevan M, Gadgil S, Bhate J (2010) Active and break spells of the Indian summer monsoon. J Earth Syst Sci. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rajeevan M, Rohini P, Kumar KN, Srinivasan J, Unnikrishnan CK (2013) A study of vertical cloud structure of the Indian summer monsoon using CloudSat data. Clim Dyn. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ravikiran V, Rajeevan M, Rao SVB, Rao NP (2009) Analysis of variations of cloud and aerosol properties associated with active and break spells of Indian summer monsoon using MODIS data. Geophys Res Lett 36:L09706. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sassen K (2002) In: Lynch DK et al (eds) Cirrus clouds: a modern perspective in Cirrus. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 11–40Google Scholar
  50. Sassen K, Liao L (1996) Estimation of cloud content by W-band radar. J Appl Meteorol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sassen K, Mace GG, Wang Z, Poellot MR, Sekelsky SM, Mcintosh RE (1999) Continental stratus clouds: a case study using coordinated remote sensing and aircraft measurements. J Atmos Sci.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sauvageot H, Omar J (1987) Radar reflectivity of cumulus clouds. J Atmos Ocean Technol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sayres DS, Smith JB, Pittman JV, Weinstock EM, Anderson JG, Heymsfield G, Fridlind LLiAM, Ackerman AS (2008) Validation and determination of ice water content-radar reflectivity relationships during CRYSTAL-FACE: flight requirements for future comparisons. J Geophys Res. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sekelsky SM, Ecklund WL, Firda JM, Gage KS, McIntosh RE (1999) Particle size estimation in ice-phase clouds using multifrequency radar reflectivity measurements at 95 33 and 2.8 GHz. J Appl Meteorol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sengupta K, Dey S, Sarkar M (2013) Structural evolution of monsoon clouds in the Indian CTCZ Geophys. Res Lett. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sikka DR, Gadgil S (1980) On the maximum cloud zone and the ITCZ over Indian longitudes during the southwest monsoon. Mon Weather Rev.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Stull RB (1990) An introduction to boundary layer meteorology. Kluwer, Boston, pp 500–522Google Scholar
  58. Sui CH, Li X, Yang MJ, Huang HL (2005) Estimation of oceanic precipitation efficiency in cloud models. J Atmos Sci. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tinel C, Testud J, Hogan RJ, Protat A, Delanoe J, Bouniol D (2005) The retrieval of ice cloud properties from cloud radar and lidar synergy. J Appl Meteorol. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vivekanandan J, Martner B, Politovich MK, Zhang G (1999) Retrieval of atmospheric liquid and ice characteristics using dual-wavelength radar observations. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vivekanandan J, Zhang G, Politovich MK (2001) An assessment of droplet size and liquid water content derived from dual-wavelength radar measurements to the application of aircraft icing detection. J Atmos Ocean Technol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang Z, Sassen K (2001) Cloud type and property retrieval using multiple remote sensors. J Appl Meteorol.;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Webster PJ, Magana VO, Palmer TN, Shukla J, Tomas RA, Yanai MU, Yasunari T (1998) Monsoons: processes predictability and the prospects for prediction. J Geophys Res Ocean. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wood N (2008) Level 2B radar-visible optical depth cloud water content (2B-CWC-RVOD) process description document. Version 5 1-26Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM)PuneIndia
  2. 2.Atmospheric and Space Science DivisionSavtribai Phule Pune UniversityPuneIndia

Personalised recommendations