An Inferred Climatology of Icing Conditions Aloft, Including Supercooled Large Drops. Part II: Europe, Asia, and the Globe

Ben C. Bernstein National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Christine Le Bot Météo France, Toulouse, France

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Abstract

Because of a lack of regular, direct measurements, limited information is available about the frequency and the spatial and temporal distribution of icing conditions aloft, including supercooled large drops (SLD). Research aircraft provide in situ observations of these conditions, but the sample set is small and can be biased. Surface observations of freezing fog and freezing precipitation provide additional insight, but cannot be used alone to assess the presence of icing aloft. Climatologies based solely on such observations can underestimate their presence in areas where subfreezing temperatures are uncommon. Other techniques can be used in an effort to reduce some of these biases and limitations. Expanding upon results for North America reported in Part I, the frequencies of icing and SLD over Europe and Asia are inferred here using 1) surface weather observations in conjunction with vertical profiles of temperature and moisture and 2) model reanalyses of temperature and moisture. Icing maxima and minima are found to migrate seasonally, both geographically and in the vertical, and to vary in their intensity. They are linked to the location of common storm tracks and other forcing, such as that associated with sloped terrain. After establishing reasonable consistency between the methods over data rich regions, the model analyses are used to examine icing frequencies over the remainder of the globe.

* Current affiliation: Leading Edge Atmospherics, Longmont, Colorado.

Corresponding author address: Ben C. Bernstein, Leading Edge Atmospherics, 3711 Yale Way, Longmont, CO 80503. Email: bcb615@gmail.com

Abstract

Because of a lack of regular, direct measurements, limited information is available about the frequency and the spatial and temporal distribution of icing conditions aloft, including supercooled large drops (SLD). Research aircraft provide in situ observations of these conditions, but the sample set is small and can be biased. Surface observations of freezing fog and freezing precipitation provide additional insight, but cannot be used alone to assess the presence of icing aloft. Climatologies based solely on such observations can underestimate their presence in areas where subfreezing temperatures are uncommon. Other techniques can be used in an effort to reduce some of these biases and limitations. Expanding upon results for North America reported in Part I, the frequencies of icing and SLD over Europe and Asia are inferred here using 1) surface weather observations in conjunction with vertical profiles of temperature and moisture and 2) model reanalyses of temperature and moisture. Icing maxima and minima are found to migrate seasonally, both geographically and in the vertical, and to vary in their intensity. They are linked to the location of common storm tracks and other forcing, such as that associated with sloped terrain. After establishing reasonable consistency between the methods over data rich regions, the model analyses are used to examine icing frequencies over the remainder of the globe.

* Current affiliation: Leading Edge Atmospherics, Longmont, Colorado.

Corresponding author address: Ben C. Bernstein, Leading Edge Atmospherics, 3711 Yale Way, Longmont, CO 80503. Email: bcb615@gmail.com

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