The image was obtained as a deep convective cloud system passed over the vertically pointed radar on August 27, 2010. (Graphics image designed by DR. Jerome Schmidt and Ms. Cynthia Karengin)
Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) scientists are leading a multi-agency study which reveals that a very high-resolution Doppler radar has the unique capacity to detect individual cloud hydrometeors in the free atmosphere.
This study will improve scientists’ understanding of the dynamics and structure of cloud systems.
This Doppler radar was previously used to track small debris shed from the NASA space shuttle missions during launch. Similar to the traces left behind on film by sub-atomic particles, researchers observed larger cloud particles leaving well-defined, nearly linear, radar reflectivity “streaks” which could be analyzed to infer their underlying properties.
Scientists could detect the individual particles because of a combination of the radar’s 3MW power, narrow 0.22 degree beamwidth, and an unprecedented range resolution as fine as 0.5m. This combination of radar attributes allows researchers to sample a volume of cloud about the size of a small bus (roughly 14 m3) when operating at a range of 2 km.
With such small pulse volumes, it becomes possible to measure the properties of individual raindrops greater than 0.5mm in diameter due to the low concentration of such drops in naturally occurring cloud systems and the overwhelming dominance such drops have on the measured radar reflectivity when present in a field comprised of smaller particles.
A lone Soldier walks through a fog of sand that covered Camp Striker and much of the Baghdad area in Iraq. (Courtesy Photo - 48th Brigade, Ga. National Guard)
A new circular polarizing filter may allow service members to see through dust and clouds.
As sophisticated as the human eye is, it does not compare to what the latest scientific achievement has to offer in enhancing what can be visually perceived.
Funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the development of a new circular polarization filter by a collaborative team of scientists at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and ITN Energy Systems has the potential to aid in early cancer detection, enhance vision through dust and clouds and to even improve a moviegoer’s 3D experience.
Polarization is the process wherein rays of light exhibit different properties in different directions, but especially the state in which all the vibration or frequency of the light takes place in one visual plane.
When measuring the different properties of light, the human eye can, of course, see in color but it cannot differentiate between the inherently different polarizations of light emanating from an object.
This new filter allows users to measure the polarization state of light quickly and efficiently.