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Improvement in Determination of Ice Water Content from Two-Dimensional Particle Imagery. Part I: Image-to-Mass Relationships

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  • 1 SPEC, Inc., Boulder, Colorado
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Abstract

Ice water content in natural clouds is an important but difficult quantity to measure. The goal of a number of past studies was to find average relationships between the masses and lengths of ice particles to determine ice water content from in situ data, such as those routinely recorded with two-dimensional imaging probes. The general approach in these past studies was to measure maximum length L and mass M of a dataset of ice crystals collected at a ground site. Linear regression analysis was performed on the logarithms of the data to estimate an average mass-to-length relationship of the form M = αLβ. Relationships were determined for subsets of the dataset based on crystal habit (shape) as well as for the full dataset. In this study, alternative relationships for determining mass using the additional parameters of width W, area A, and perimeter P are explored. A 50% reduction in rms error in the determination of mass relative to using L alone is achieved using a single parameter that is a combination of L, W, A, and P. The new parameter is designed to take into account the shape of the ice particle without the need to classify the crystals first. An interesting result is that, when applied to the test dataset, the same reduction in rms error is also shown to be achievable using A alone. Using A alone facilitates the reanalysis and improvement of the determination of ice water content from large existing datasets of two-dimensional images, because A is simply the number of occulted pixels in the digital images. Possible sources of error in this study are investigated, as is the usefulness of first segregating the particles into crystal habits.

Corresponding author address: R. Paul Lawson, SPEC, Inc., 3022 Sterling Circle, Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80301. Email: plawson@specinc.com

Abstract

Ice water content in natural clouds is an important but difficult quantity to measure. The goal of a number of past studies was to find average relationships between the masses and lengths of ice particles to determine ice water content from in situ data, such as those routinely recorded with two-dimensional imaging probes. The general approach in these past studies was to measure maximum length L and mass M of a dataset of ice crystals collected at a ground site. Linear regression analysis was performed on the logarithms of the data to estimate an average mass-to-length relationship of the form M = αLβ. Relationships were determined for subsets of the dataset based on crystal habit (shape) as well as for the full dataset. In this study, alternative relationships for determining mass using the additional parameters of width W, area A, and perimeter P are explored. A 50% reduction in rms error in the determination of mass relative to using L alone is achieved using a single parameter that is a combination of L, W, A, and P. The new parameter is designed to take into account the shape of the ice particle without the need to classify the crystals first. An interesting result is that, when applied to the test dataset, the same reduction in rms error is also shown to be achievable using A alone. Using A alone facilitates the reanalysis and improvement of the determination of ice water content from large existing datasets of two-dimensional images, because A is simply the number of occulted pixels in the digital images. Possible sources of error in this study are investigated, as is the usefulness of first segregating the particles into crystal habits.

Corresponding author address: R. Paul Lawson, SPEC, Inc., 3022 Sterling Circle, Suite 200, Boulder, CO 80301. Email: plawson@specinc.com

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