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VITAL Campaigns

VITAL: Vertical profiling of the troposphere: Innovation, opTimization and AppLication

The VITAL I and II Campaigns: the observational core of the fourth HErZ funding phase

In the pre­vi­ous HErZ phase, the main goal of FES­ST­VaL was to observe the hor­i­zon­tal struc­ture of cold pools on the sub-mesoscale with an unprece­dent­ed spa­tial res­o­lu­tion with­in an area of ~20 km radius. In this HErZ phase we now focus on the ver­ti­cal struc­ture of the tro­pos­phere with the objec­tive to con­tribute to fill­ing the obser­va­tion­al gap of wind, water vapor and tem­per­a­ture pro­file obser­va­tions in the ABL. Fill­ing this gap means obtain­ing improved infor­ma­tion about the pre-con­vec­tive envi­ron­ment, the diur­nal ABL devel­op­ment, low-lev­el jets, TKE pro­files or the poten­tial for fog for­ma­tion or dis­si­pa­tion

To this extent, HIRES-APP devel­ops and applies nov­el obser­va­tion meth­ods for ver­ti­cal pro­fil­ing and assess­es their impact in ICON-D2 data assim­i­la­tion. For this, the obser­va­tion­al cam­paign VITAL I  will

  1. col­lect a com­pre­hen­sive set of state-of-the-art ver­ti­cal pro­file obser­va­tions
  2. apply new­ly devel­oped retrieval algo­rithms for remote sens­ing
  3. deliv­er a proof of con­cept for UAS pro­fil­ing and satel­lite / ground-based syn­er­gy and deliv­er feed­back for the devel­op­ment of the DWD observ­ing sys­tem
  4. pro­vide train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties with state-of-the-art instru­men­ta­tion for young researchers with­in HErZ

VITAL I will take place in August 2024 at the Jülich Obser­va­to­ry for Cloud Evo­lu­tion (JOYCE) and prof­it from the avail­able mea­sure­ment infra­struc­ture at the Research Cen­ter Jülich. We gen­er­ate ver­ti­cal pro­fil­ing data sets from all cur­rent­ly avail­able state-of-the-art obser­va­tion­al approach­es for tro­pos­pher­ic pro­fil­ing at one site and share these with stake­hold­ers.

In par­al­lel, August 2024 rep­re­sents a core phase of the 2024 WMO UAS Demon­stra­tion cam­paign. WMO has assessed the con­tri­bu­tion of HIRES-APP to this cam­paign to be very rel­e­vant. Reg­u­lar, dai­ly coor­di­nat­ed mul­ti-copter launch­es to pro­file wind, tur­bu­lence, tem­per­a­ture and water vapor in the low­est 2 km of the atmos­phere will take place at JOYCE. Two small UAS of type MASC-MC (Mul­ti-pur­pose Air­borne Sen­sor Car­ri­er of type Mul­ti-Copter) with a nov­el, improved wind esti­ma­tion are pre­pared and cal­i­brat­ed for the VITAL I. After each flight day qual­i­ty checks will be per­formed and quick­looks con­tain­ing the atmos­pher­ic vari­ables will be cre­at­ed for each flight day and site. The data will be sub­mit­ted to WMO in the required tim­ing, res­o­lu­tion and qual­i­ty.

Image cour­tesy of Envi­ron­men­tal Physics Group, Uni­ver­si­ty of Tübin­gen

Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, inten­sive eval­u­a­tion and inter­com­par­i­son will be car­ried out with the new JOYCE Raman lidar (instal­la­tion planned for 05/2024), a Dif­fer­en­tial Absorp­tion Lidar (DIAL), reg­u­lar radiosonde ascents as well as pas­sive remote sens­ing from the sur­face (MWR, infrared spec­trom­e­ter AERI) and space (IASI from EPS). The research objec­tive of VITAL I is to eval­u­ate to what extent the nov­el meth­ods devel­oped in the HIRES-APP work pack­ages can be suc­cess­ful­ly applied and to explore the poten­tial for an oper­a­tional appli­ca­tion. Asso­ci­at­ed to VITAL I is the HErZ 2024 Sum­mer School on Mod­en Meth­ods for Atmos­pher­ic Pro­fil­ing.

While VITAL I has a more tech­ni­cal focus, VITAL II in the Sum­mer of 2026 will focus on phe­nom­e­na with­in the con­vec­tive and sta­ble bound­ary lay­er over the Rhineland ABC/J (Aachen-Bonn-Cologne / Julich) region. More infor­ma­tion will fol­low here after VITAL I.

Image cour­tesy of Lukas Pftitzen­maier, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cologne