Comparisons of Ice Cloud Parameters Obtained by Combined Remote Sensor Retrievals and Direct Methods

Sergey Y. Matrosov Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado/NOAA, Boulder, Colorado

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Andrew J. Heymsfield National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Robert A. Kropfli NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Brooks E. Martner NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Roger F. Reinking NOAA/Environmental Technology Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado

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Jack B. Snider Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado/NOAA, Boulder, Colorado

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Paivi Piironen University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

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Edwin W. Eloranta University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

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Abstract

Ice cloud microphysical parameters derived from a remote sensing method that uses ground-based measurements from the Environmental Technology Laboratory’s Ka-band radar and an IR radiometer are compared to those obtained from aircraft sampling for the cirrus priority event from the FIRE-II experiment. Aircraft cloud samples were taken not only by traditional two-dimensional probes but also by using a new video sampler to account for small particles. The cloud parameter comparisons were made for time intervals when aircraft were passing approximately above ground-based instruments that were pointed vertically. Comparing characteristic particle sizes expressed in terms of median mass diameters of equal-volume spheres yielded a relative standard deviation of about 30%. The corresponding standard deviation for the cloud ice water content comparisons was about 55%. Such an agreement is considered good given uncertainties of both direct and remote approaches and several orders of magnitude in natural variability of ice cloud parameters. Values of reflectivity measured by the radar and calculated from aircraft samples also showed a reasonable agreement; however, calculated reflectivities averaged approximately 2 dB smaller than those measured. The possible reasons for this small bias are discussed. Ground-based and aircraft-derived particle characteristic sizes are compared to those available from published satellite measurements of this parameter for the cirrus priority case from FIRE-II. Finally, simultaneous and collocated, ground-based measurements of visible (0.523 nm) and longwave IR (10–11.4 μm) ice cloud extinction optical thickness obtained during the 1995 Arizona Program are also compared. These comparisons, performed for different cloud conditions, revealed a relative standard deviation of less than 20%;however, no systematic excess of visible extinction over IR extinction was observed in the considered experimental events.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Sergey Y. Matrosov, NOAA/ERL/ETL, R/E/ET6, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303.

Email: smatrosov@etl.noaa.gov

Abstract

Ice cloud microphysical parameters derived from a remote sensing method that uses ground-based measurements from the Environmental Technology Laboratory’s Ka-band radar and an IR radiometer are compared to those obtained from aircraft sampling for the cirrus priority event from the FIRE-II experiment. Aircraft cloud samples were taken not only by traditional two-dimensional probes but also by using a new video sampler to account for small particles. The cloud parameter comparisons were made for time intervals when aircraft were passing approximately above ground-based instruments that were pointed vertically. Comparing characteristic particle sizes expressed in terms of median mass diameters of equal-volume spheres yielded a relative standard deviation of about 30%. The corresponding standard deviation for the cloud ice water content comparisons was about 55%. Such an agreement is considered good given uncertainties of both direct and remote approaches and several orders of magnitude in natural variability of ice cloud parameters. Values of reflectivity measured by the radar and calculated from aircraft samples also showed a reasonable agreement; however, calculated reflectivities averaged approximately 2 dB smaller than those measured. The possible reasons for this small bias are discussed. Ground-based and aircraft-derived particle characteristic sizes are compared to those available from published satellite measurements of this parameter for the cirrus priority case from FIRE-II. Finally, simultaneous and collocated, ground-based measurements of visible (0.523 nm) and longwave IR (10–11.4 μm) ice cloud extinction optical thickness obtained during the 1995 Arizona Program are also compared. These comparisons, performed for different cloud conditions, revealed a relative standard deviation of less than 20%;however, no systematic excess of visible extinction over IR extinction was observed in the considered experimental events.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Sergey Y. Matrosov, NOAA/ERL/ETL, R/E/ET6, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303.

Email: smatrosov@etl.noaa.gov

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