Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility US Department of Energy

Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E): Airborne Instruments

22 April 2011 - 6 June 2011

Lead Scientist: Michael Poellot

Observatory: aaf, sgp

The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) took place in central Oklahoma during the April–May 2011 period. The experiment is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission Ground Validation (GV) program. The field campaign leveraged the unprecedented observing infrastructure currently available in the central United States, combined with an extensive sounding array, remote sensing and in situ aircraft observations, NASA GPM ground validation remote sensors, and new ARM instrumentation purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The University of North Dakota (UND) Citation provided in situ observations of precipitation-sized particles, ice freezing nuclei, and aerosol concentrations. In support of the UND aircraft mission, the ARM Aerial Facility provided aircraft probes for use during MC3E. The AAF High Volume Precipitation Spectrometer (HVPS-3) and the Ultra-High Sensitivity Aerosol Spectrometer (UHSAS-A), which allow for a wide range of operating speeds and have high resolution and fast response, were deployed. It was noted from the outset that the Citation would not be able to penetrate the deepest cores of convection associated with spring-time storms in Oklahoma, and thus, the flight plans emphasized sampling in weaker embedded convection and broad stratiform precipitation. As a complement to the UND Citation’s in situ observations, the NASA ER-2 provided a high-altitude satellite simulator platform that enabled remote sensing observations with a Ka/Ku band radar and passive microwave radiometers.


  • Parent Campaign
  • Sibling Campaign


Giangrande S, J Comstock, S Collis, J Shilling, K Gaustad, K Kehoe, S Xie, and D Zhang. 2022. Translator Plan: A Coordinated Vision for Fiscal Years 2023-2025. Ed. by Robert Stafford, ARM user facility. DOE/SC-ARM-22-003. 10.2172/1893730.


Tang S, S Xie, and M Zhang. 2020. Description of the Three-Dimensional Large-Scale Forcing Data from the 3D Constrained Variational Analysis (VARANAL3D). Ed. by Robert Stafford, ARM user facility. DOE/SC-ARM-TR-253. 10.2172/1648153.

Wang Y, S Xie, S Tang, and W Lin. 2020. "Evaluation of an Improved Convective Triggering Function: Observational Evidence and SCM Tests." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125(11), e2019JD031651, 10.1029/2019JD031651.
Research Highlight


Stanford M, H Morrison, A Varble, J Berner, W Wu, G McFarquhar, and J Milbrandt. 2019. "Sensitivity of Simulated Deep Convection to a Stochastic Ice Microphysics Framework." Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 11(11), 10.1029/2019MS001730.
Research Highlight

Matsui T, B Dolan, S Rutledge, W Tao, T Iguchi, J Barnum, and S Lang. 2019. "POLARRIS: A POLArimetric Radar Retrieval and Instrument Simulator." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 124(8), doi:10.1029/2018JD028317.
Research Highlight

Finlon J, G McFarquhar, S Nesbitt, R Rauber, H Morrison, W Wu, and P Zhang. 2019. "A novel approach for characterizing the variability in mass-dimension relationships: results from MC3E." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19(6), 10.5194/acp-19-3621-2019.


Fridlind A, X Li, D Wu, M van Lier-Walqui, A Ackerman, W Tao, G McFarquhar, W Wu, X Dong, J Wang, A Ryzhkov, P Zhang, M Poellot, A Neumann, and J Tomlinson. 2017. "Derivation of aerosol profiles for MC3E convection studies and use in simulations of the 20 May squall line case." Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 17(9), 10.5194/acp-17-5947-2017.
Research Highlight

Wong M and M Ovchinnikov. 2017. "A PDF-Based Parameterization of Subgrid-Scale Hydrometeor Transport in Deep Convection." Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 74(4), 10.1175/JAS-D-16-0146.1.
Research Highlight


Jensen MP, WA Petersen, A Bansemer, N Bharadwaj, LD Carey, DJ Cecil, SM Collis, AD Del Genio, B Dolan, J Gerlach, SE Giangrande, G Heymsfield, P Kollias, TJ Lang, SW Nesbitt, A Neumann, M Poellot, SA Rutledge, M Schwaller, A Tokay, CR Williams, DB Wolff, S Xie, and EJ Zipser. 2016. "The Midlatitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E)." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 97(9), 10.1175/bams-d-14-00228.1.
Research Highlight

Tian J, X Dong, B Xi, J Wang, CR Homeyer, GM McFarquhar, and J Fan. 2016. "Retrievals of ice cloud microphysical properties of deep convective systems using radar measurements." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 121(18), 10.1002/2015jd024686.
Research Highlight

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Campaign Data Sets

IOP Participant Data Source Name Final Data
Jennifer Comstock High Volume Precip Spectrometer Order Data
Jason Tomlinson Ultra High Sensitivity Aerosol Spectrometer- G1 Aircraft Order Data