NASA Icing Remote Sensing System (NIRSS)
The NASA Icing Remote Sensing System (NIRSS) deploys a vertically–pointing K–band radar, a lidar ceiliometer, and a profiling microwave radiometer to obtain measurements for diagnosing local inflight icing conditions. RAL is working with NASA GRC to develop algorithms and data ingest and display software for the system.
NASA has an ongoing activity to develop remote sensing technologies for the detection and measurement of icing conditions aloft. As part of that effort NASA teamed with NCAR to develop software that fuses data from multiple instruments into a single detected icing condition product. The multiple instrument approach, which is the current emphasis of this activity, utilizes a K–band vertical staring radar, a microwave radiometer that detects twelve frequencies between 22 and 59 GHz, and a lidar ceilometer. The radar data determine cloud boundaries, the radiometer determines the sub–freezing temperature heights and total liquid water content, and the ceilometer refines the lower cloud boundary. Data is post–processed in C++ program with a Java–based web display of resultant supercooled LWC profile and aircraft hazard identification. In 2010, a multi–channel scanning radiometer, designed and built by Radiometrics, Inc. under a SBIR grant, ,was added to the system to assess its utility in improving icing diagnoses.