Ice Particle Size and Roughness from Novel Techniques - In Situ Measurements and Validation
Thornton, Jenna Louise
The roughness of ice crystals, defined by small-scale surface roughness and large scale complexity, in high-altitude cloud, has been studied due to its important influence on the radiative properties of ice cloud. The Small Ice Detector 3 (SID-3) created at the University of Hertfordshire was used to measure the characteristics of individual ice crystals in situ. These are supplemented by a range of meteorological in situ measurements, including temperature, relative humidity, and wind velocity to investigate the influence of atmospheric conditions on ice crystal roughness/complexity. Since the method of roughness retrieval was novel, for atmospheric ice particles, laboratory experiments were setup to test and improve the characterization techniques. Criteria were set as a result of the laboratory experiments which data was expected to meet for it to be deemed reliable. These criteria and techniques were applied to data collected in situ on research aircraft. A range of degrees of ice crystal roughness were observed over five flights from two campaigns based out of Scotland in 2012 and 2015 (PIKNMIX and CIRCCREX). When all the flights were combined the majority of particles (51%) were categorised as lightly rough; the second most common roughness type was moderately rough (39%). Smooth particles made up 10% of the total particles, and <0.02% were classed as severely rough. When considering a wave-cloud case separately, a similar range of roughness values were seen, however, smooth particles were only observed at the cloud leading-edge where nucleation was expected to occur during the only straight level run of the aircraft to probe this region. During the same wave-cloud flight smooth particles were more common in supersaturated regions and moderately rough crystals were more common in subsaturated regions, suggesting that crystals are more likely to tend towards rougher values when observed in subsaturated environments (a statistical T-test showed this hypothesis to be statistically significant). It was found that due to limitations associated with instantaneous measurements, it was challenging to observe how ice particle roughness evolved in situ, since the history of the individual crystals was unknown in most cases. Orographic cloud, however, was found to provide a more robust estimation of crystal evolution as a consequence of having sharp-leading edges where nucleation events were expected to occur, and since crystals then follow streamlines, the distance from the sharp-leading edge can act as a proxy for time since nucleation.