Skip to Main Content
The potential role of ground-based remote sensors in the detection of atmospheric conditions conducive to aircraft icing is evaluated. Zenith measurements of liquid water and profiles of atmospheric temperature were made by microwave radiometers located at Stapleton International Airport, Denver, Colorado. Radiometer data and sky cover observations for a two-year period were correlated with icing occurrences reported by aircraft pilots in the area. Data limitations in this study include the following: 1) the radiometer observations were made at one location and in the zenith direction only, whereas icing conditions may be highly variable in space; 2) because pilot reports vary greatly with time of day, aircraft route, etc., the reports do not systematically verify the presence of icing conditions in all situations. Given these limitations, it is concluded that the liquid measurement makes a critical contribution to the detection of icing conditions. This measurement is not generally available (e. g., from radiosondes), except from sensors like the radiometer.