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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-795
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-795
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Aug 2018

Research article | 30 Aug 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

A novel approach to characterize the variability in mass-Dimension relationships: results from MC3E

Joseph A. Finlon1, Greg M. McFarquhar2,3, Stephen W. Nesbitt1, Robert M. Rauber1, Hugh Morrison4, Wei Wu2, and Pengfei Zhang2,5 Joseph A. Finlon et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
  • 3School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73072, USA
  • 4National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
  • 5NOAA/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK 73072, USA

Abstract. Mass-dimension (m-D) relationships determining bulk microphysical properties such as total water content (TWC) and radar reflectivity factor (Z) from particle size distributions are used in both numerical models and remote sensing retrievals. The a and b coefficients representing m=aDb relationships, however, can vary significantly depending on meteorological conditions, particle habits, definition of particle maximum dimension, the probes used to obtain the data, techniques used to process the cloud probe data, and other unknown reasons. Thus, considering a range of a,b coefficients may be more applicable for use in numerical models and remote sensing retrievals. Microphysical data collected by two-dimensional optical array probes (OAPs) installed on the University of North Dakota Citation aircraft during the Mid-latitude Continental Convective Clouds Experiment (MC3E) were used in conjunction with TWC data from a Nevzorov probe and ground-based S-band radar data to determine a and b using a technique that minimizes the chi-square difference between TWC and Z derived from the OAPs and that directly measured by a TWC probe and radar. All a and b within a specified tolerance were regarded as equally plausible solutions. Of the 16 near-constant temperature flight legs analyzed during the 25 April, 20 May, and 23 May 2011 events, the derived surfaces of solutions on the first two days where the aircraft sampled stratiform cloud had a larger range in a and b for lower temperature environments that corresponded to less variability in N(D), TWC, and Z for a flight leg. Because different regions of the storm were sampled on 23 May, differences in the variability of N(D), TWC, and Z influenced the distribution of chi-square values in (a,b) phase space and the specified tolerance in a way that yielded 6.7 times fewer plausible solutions compared to the flight legs on the other dates. These findings show the importance of representing the variability in a,b coefficients for numerical modeling and remote sensing studies rather than assuming fixed values, as well as the need to further explore how these surfaces depend on environmental conditions in ice and mixed phase clouds.

Joseph A. Finlon et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Joseph A. Finlon et al.
Data sets

Matched Radar and Microphysical Properties During MC3E J. A. Finlon https://doi.org/10.13012/B2IDB-6396968_V1

Model code and software

University of Illinois/Oklahoma Optical Array Probe (OAP) Processing Software G. M. McFarquhar, J. A. Finlon, D. M. Stechman, W. Wu, R. C. Jackson, and M. Freer https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1285969

Joseph A. Finlon et al.
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Short summary
A new approach describing the relationship between ice crystal mass (m) and dimension (D) is derived, characterizing it as a set of “equally realizable” parameters based on the natural variability of cloud conditions observed by aircraft over the Great Plains. Results from this approach address shortcomings of microphysical parameterization schemes and remote sensing retrievals that employ a single m-D relation for a given ice species or environment.
A new approach describing the relationship between ice crystal mass (m) and dimension (D) is...
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