From Autumn 2021 through Summer 2023, researchers from the NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory’s Radiation, Aerosols, and Clouds Division (GRAD) are participating in the interdisciplinary, inter-laboratory field campaign led by NOAA-PSL SPLASH - the Study of Precipitation, the Lower Atmosphere and Surface for Hydrometeorology. Observational platforms and networks are deployed along the East River watershed of the Colorado mountains near Crested Butte, CO. SPLASH is coordinated in conjunction with the SAIL (Surface Atmosphere Integrated field Laboratory) field campaign directed by the Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. A main goal of the SAIL and SPLASH campaigns is “to develop a quantitative understanding of the atmosphere and land-atmosphere interaction processes, at their relevant scales, that impact mountain hydrometeorology”.
Being able to accurately characterize the surface radiative energy budget for observational process understanding and detailed numerical weather prediction model error analysis in complex terrain is one of the primary research objectives during SPLASH for GRAD. To this end, GRAD field engineers and researchers have deployed two comprehensive stations along the East River consisting of sophisticated radiometers, ceilometers, a total sky imager, a cloud optical depth sensor, and near-surface meteorological instruments. The measurements and valued-added data products retrieved from these measurements are cutting-edge and crucial for advancing the science goals of GRAD during SPLASH (see below).