Parameterizing Size Distribution in Ice Clouds

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

PARAMETERIZING SIZE DISTRIBUTIONS IN ICE CLOUDS David L. Mitchell and Daniel H. DeSlover ABSTRACT An outstanding problem that contributes considerable uncertainty to Global Climate Model (GCM) predictions of future climate is the characterization of ice particle sizes in cirrus clouds. Recent parameterizations of ice cloud effective diameter differ by a factor of three, which, for overcast conditions, often translate to changes in outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) of 55 W m-2 or more. Much of this uncertainty in cirrus particle sizes is related to the problem of ice particle shattering during in situ sampling of the ice particle size distribution (PSD). ... continued below

Creation Information

DeSlover, Daniel & Mitchell, David L. September 25, 2009.

Context

This report is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this report or its content.

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this report. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

PARAMETERIZING SIZE DISTRIBUTIONS IN ICE CLOUDS David L. Mitchell and Daniel H. DeSlover ABSTRACT An outstanding problem that contributes considerable uncertainty to Global Climate Model (GCM) predictions of future climate is the characterization of ice particle sizes in cirrus clouds. Recent parameterizations of ice cloud effective diameter differ by a factor of three, which, for overcast conditions, often translate to changes in outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) of 55 W m-2 or more. Much of this uncertainty in cirrus particle sizes is related to the problem of ice particle shattering during in situ sampling of the ice particle size distribution (PSD). Ice particles often shatter into many smaller ice fragments upon collision with the rim of the probe inlet tube. These small ice artifacts are counted as real ice crystals, resulting in anomalously high concentrations of small ice crystals (D < 100 µm) and underestimates of the mean and effective size of the PSD. Half of the cirrus cloud optical depth calculated from these in situ measurements can be due to this shattering phenomenon. Another challenge is the determination of ice and liquid water amounts in mixed phase clouds. Mixed phase clouds in the Arctic contain mostly liquid water, and the presence of ice is important for determining their lifecycle. Colder high clouds between -20 and -36 oC may also be mixed phase but in this case their condensate is mostly ice with low levels of liquid water. Rather than affecting their lifecycle, the presence of liquid dramatically affects the cloud optical properties, which affects cloud-climate feedback processes in GCMs. This project has made advancements in solving both of these problems. Regarding the first problem, PSD in ice clouds are uncertain due to the inability to reliably measure the concentrations of the smallest crystals (D < 100 µm), known as the “small mode”. Rather than using in situ probe measurements aboard aircraft, we employed a treatment of ice cloud optical properties formulated in terms of PSD parameters in combination with remote measurements of thermal radiances to characterize the small mode. This is possible since the absorption efficiency (Qabs) of small mode crystals is larger at 12 µm wavelength relative to 11 µm wavelength due to the process of wave resonance or photon tunneling more active at 12 µm. This makes the 12/11 µm absorption optical depth ratio (or equivalently the 12/11 µm Qabs ratio) a means for detecting the relative concentration of small ice particles in cirrus. Using this principle, this project tested and developed PSD schemes that can help characterize cirrus clouds at each of the three ARM sites: SGP, NSA and TWP. This was the main effort of this project. These PSD schemes and ice sedimentation velocities predicted from them have been used to test the new cirrus microphysics parameterization in the GCM known as the Community Climate Systems Model (CCSM) as part of an ongoing collaboration with NCAR. Regarding the second problem, we developed and did preliminary testing on a passive thermal method for retrieving the total water path (TWP) of Arctic mixed phase clouds where TWPs are often in the range of 20 to 130 g m-2 (difficult for microwave radiometers to accurately measure). We also developed a new radar method for retrieving the cloud ice water content (IWC), which can be vertically integrated to yield the ice water path (IWP). These techniques were combined to determine the IWP and liquid water path (LWP) in Arctic clouds, and hence the fraction of ice and liquid water. We have tested this approach using a case study from the ARM field campaign called M-PACE (Mixed-Phase Arctic Cloud Experiment). This research led to a new satellite remote sensing method that appears promising for detecting low levels of liquid water in high clouds typically between -20 and -36 oC. We hope to develop this method in future research.

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this report in the Digital Library or other systems.

  • Report No.: DOE-ER64202- Final Report
  • Grant Number: FG02-06ER64202
  • DOI: 10.2172/972218 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 972218
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc925707

Collections

This report is part of the following collection of related materials.

Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

What responsibilities do I have when using this report?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this report.

Creation Date

  • September 25, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 13, 2016, 12:16 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this report last used?

Congratulations! It looks like you are the first person to view this item online.

Interact With This Report

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

DeSlover, Daniel & Mitchell, David L. Parameterizing Size Distribution in Ice Clouds, report, September 25, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc925707/: accessed August 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.