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Observing the growth of Amazonian clouds using vertically pointing radar

Grant number: 20/16618-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2021
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Geosciences - Meteorology
Principal Investigator:Micael Amore Cecchini
Grantee:Guido Giovanelli Haytzmann
Host Institution: Instituto de Física (IF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/17047-0 - Aerosol and clouds life cycles in Amazonia: biogenic emissions, biomass burning and impacts on ecosystem, AP.PFPMCG.TEM


The horizontal and vertical dimensions of the clouds largely determine their role in the energy and hydrological cycle of the atmosphere in the Amazon. The horizontal coverage of the clouds directly affects the amount of solar radiation reflected by the planet, while the vertical extent (or depth) affects the formation and type of precipitation. There is evidence that increases in the concentration of atmospheric aerosols via biomass burning and anthropogenic emissions affect both cloud dimensions, although the correlation is not very well quantified yet. In a climate-change scenario, with higher temperatures, lower humidity and higher levels of pollution, the behavior of cloud fields in the Amazon will undergo changes that are not yet fully understood. Due to the climatic role of clouds in the region, studies are needed to understand how cloud dimensions are affected by increasing concentrations of aerosols. This proposal aims to contribute to this effort based on the analysis of aerosol and cloud data collected continuously near the ATTO tower in the Amazon. The dimensions of the clouds will be characterized by the vertically pointing radar MIRA-35C installed at the Campina-ATTO site, approximately 100 km northeast of Manaus. The radar operates at a frequency of 35 GHz, specially optimized for measuring growing non-precipitating clouds. The Beneficiary will learn to handle the data collected by the instrument, will propose a cloud mask and calculate its morphology statistics. Complementary aerosol data collected at the ATTO tower will be used to produce statistics on relatively clean and polluted environments. The results generated in this proposal will help other studies carried out by researchers at the Atmospheric Physics Laboratory, which include high resolution modeling (50 m) of shallow clouds.

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