The performance of the EarthCARE Cloud Profiling Radar in marine stratiform clouds
Marine stratiform clouds are a challenging target for spaceborne radars due to their proximity to Earth’s surface, limited vertical extent, and low radar reflectivity. The joint European Space Agency–Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (ESA–JAXA) Earth Clouds, Aerosols and Radiation Explorer (EarthCARE) mission is scheduled for launch in 2018 and features the first atmospheric Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) with Doppler capability in space. Here, the performance of the CPR in i) detecting these clouds and their boundaries, and ii) measuring the Doppler velocity of drizzle particles is evaluated. Observations from the Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (ARM) Mobile Facility at the Azores and Marine ARM GPCI Investigation of Clouds are used as input to a CPR simulator. The extensive ground-based observations are treated as the “truth” and are compared to the simulated EarthCARE CPR observations. The impact of the surface echo return, radar sensitivity, range resolution, and along-track integration are discussed.