Winter Icing and Storms Project, 2004

02/17/2004 - 04/04/2004

The 2004 Winter Icing and Storms Project, or WISP-04, sought to understand how hazardous in-flight icing conditions form within clouds, and how we can remotely detect those conditions. In-flight icing occurs when an aircraft flies through super-cooled liquid cloud drops. WISP-04 ran from February 15th through March 31st, 2004.

The NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory (ETL) deployed its Ground-based Remote Icing Detection System (GRIDS) at a field site near Erie, Colorado, which is approximately 35 km northwest of Denver. GRIDS combines a very sensitive, polarimetric Doppler cloud radar with a microwave radiometer and temperature profile information from the NOAA Rapid Update Cycle analysis, to find liquid within clouds and determine if it is super-cooled liquid.

NOAA-ETL collaborated with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of North Dakota. NCAR employed a dual-frequency radar system, balloons and computerized icing forecast tools, whereas UND flew their Citation aircraft to provide in-situ confirmation of cloud conditions.

WISP-04 followed closely on the heals of the second Alliance Icing Research Study (AIRS-II), which was held from November 3 through December 12th, 2003 in Montreal Canada. Though larger in scope than WISP-04, AIRS-II shared similar objectives.

For more information, please visit the RAL WISP-04 page.