A network suitable microwave radiometer for operational monitoring of the cloudy atmosphere
The implementation of an operational network of microwave radiometers is presently hampered by the cost and complexity of the available instruments. For this reason, the definition and design of a low-cost microwave radiometer suitable for automatic, high-quality observations of liquid water path (LWP) were one objective of the BALTEX cloud liquid water network: CLIWA-NET. In the course of the project, it turned out that a full profiling radiometer with 14 channels can be produced at only about 30% higher cost than a classical dual-channel IWV/LWP radiometer. The profiling capability allows simultaneous observations of LWP and the lower tropospheric (0–5 km) humidity and temperature profiles with a temporal resolution of less than 10 s and a vertical resolution from 100 m to 1 km in the planetary boundary layer depending on height and atmospheric conditions. The latter is possible due to an elevation scan capability and by the implementation of a new filter bank design. The radiometer has several additional sensors.