CRYSTAL-FACE: Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers – Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL)


From July 3-29, 2002 ARM took part in CRYSTAL-FACE (The Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers -Florida Area Cirrus Experiment). CRYSTAL-FACE was organized by NASA but many agencies and institutions also played roles. The purpose of CRYSTAL-FACE was to study tropical convection and cirrus. Ultimately, there was great interest in carrying out such an experiment in the Tropical Western Pacific and it was likely that a future phase of CRYSTAL would be held in that region. Florida was chosen for the initial phase of CRYSTAL because it offered frequent deep convection and the logistics for holding an experiment there were much simpler than in the equatorial Pacific.

Much of the emphasis of CRYSTAL-FACE was on the aircraft component. There were six aircraft that were all based in Key West Florida and flew missions throughout the month over south Florida and on several occasions over the Carribean to study convection in the deep tropics. The aircraft included (in approximate order of maximum ceiling): the Twin Otter, Citation, P3, WB-57, Proteus, and ER-2. The experiment also included extensive satellite and modelling components as well as two fully instrumented ground sites.

Department of Energy, Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program

To provide current GOES Sounder products in support of the CRYSTAL field campaign over southern Florida and its surroundings during the summer of 2002, CIMSS provided near real-time displays tailored to the CRYSTAL domain. Dr. Steve Ackerman of CIMSS was a principal contributor to the project. Presentations of the Derived Product Images (DPI) of profile parameters in clear air, such as, total precipitable water (PW in [mm]) and lifted index stability (LI in [C]), showed hourly imagery over the last six hours. In addition, cloud top pressure (CTP in [hPa]) DPI were also provided.

Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), University of Wisconsin-Madison


Related Websites


  • Lee, Young-Keum; Yang, Ping; Hu, Yongxiang ; Baum, Bryan A.; Loeb, Norman G., and Gao, Bo-Cai. Potential nighttime contamination of CERES clear-sky fields of view by optically thin cirrus during the CRYSTAL-FACE campaign. Journal of Geophysical Research v.111, no.D9, 2006, doi:10.1029/2005JD006372. Reprint #5116.