Hail and graupel are linked to lightning production and are important components of cloud evolution. Hail can also cause significant damage when it precipitates to the surface. The accurate prediction of the amount and location of hail and graupel and the effects on the other hydrometeor species depends upon the size distribution assumed. Here, we use ~310 km of in situ observations from flights of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology T-28 storm-penetrating aircraft to constrain the representation of the particle size distribution (PSD) of hail. The maximum ~1-km hail water content encountered was 9 g m−3. Optical probe PSD measurements are normalized using two-moment normalization relations to obtain an underlying exponential shape. By linking the two normalizing moments through a power law, a parameterization of the hail PSD is provided based on the hail water content only. Preliminary numerical weather simulations indicate that the new parameterization produces increased radar reflectivity relative to commonly used PSD representations.
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