Tropical Cloud Observation

Group Leader:Lutz Hirsch

The  aim of the Tropical Cloud Observations Group (TCO) is to collect and use observations to deepen the understanding
and test hypotheses related to the role of tropical clouds and convection in the  climate system.

To achieve this the TCO group established and operates the Barbados Cloud Observatory (BCO) since 2010
and has led the development of the cloud-observatory configuration of the German research aircraft HALO .
Over the last few years the group has also become more active in supporting ship-based measurements of tropical clouds,
building on previous experiences supporting the marine aerosol network.

HALO and the BCO represent the group's flagship activities.
Established in 2010 in cooperation with Caribbean partners, the BCO routinely profiles clouds, precipitation, aerosol, water vapor and wind.
At the BCO the group is operating two state-of-the art cloud radars at different frequencies, different unique in-house developed multi-channel Raman Lidars,
a wind-Lidar and micro-wave Radiometer supported by a number of additional instrumentation.
Also an increasing number of international guests and partnerships use the site as a platform for their own instrumentations
and an increasing number of scientists request our data set to help with exploiting the data.

HALO, the second flagship activity, has been developed into a remote sensing platform by the group.
The group provides leadership, is directly responsible for a set of active and passive microwave remote sensing instruments,
and has teamed with other groups in Germany to expand the capacity of HALO,
for example through the development and certification of a new dropsonde system,
radiometric measurements for broadband irradiances and sea-surface temperatures, as well as both thermal and visible imagers.

As the group's experimental activities have become well established and the data collection matured,
the group is increasingly focused on its curation, through the development of new data concepts, and its scientific exploitation.
The latter involves scientific hypotheses testing as well as model evaluation.  (see section „research“ for details)
It is not a coincidence that both phases of the DYAMOND project were centered on intensive HALO observation periods.