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Measurement of Total Water with a Tunable Diode Laser Hygrometer: Inlet Analysis, Calibration Procedure, and Ice Water Content Determination

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  • 1 Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida
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Abstract

The University of Colorado closed-path tunable diode laser hygrometer (CLH), a new instrument for the in situ measurement of enhanced total water (eTW, the sum of water vapor and condensed water enhanced by a subisokinetic inlet), has recently been flown aboard the NASA DC-8 and WB-57F aircrafts. The CLH has the sensitivity necessary to quantify the ice water content (IWC) of extremely thin subvisual cirrus clouds (∼0.1 mg m−3), while still providing measurements over a large range of conditions typical of upper-tropospheric cirrus (up to 1 g m−3). A key feature of the CLH is its subisokinetic inlet system, which is described in detail in this paper. The enhancement and evaporation of ice particles that results from the heated subisokinetic inlet is described both analytically and based on computational fluid dynamical simulations of the flow around the aircraft. Laboratory mixtures of water vapor with an accuracy of 2%–10% (2σ) were used to calibrate the CLH over a wide range of water vapor mixing ratios (∼50–50 000 ppm) and pressures (∼100–1000 mb). The water vapor retrieval algorithm, which is based on the CLH instrument properties as well as on the spectroscopic properties of the water absorption line, accurately fits the calibration data to within the uncertainty of the calibration mixtures and instrument signal-to-noise ratio. A method for calculating cirrus IWC from the CLH enhanced total water measurement is presented. In this method, the particle enhancement factor is determined from an independent particle size distribution measurement and the size-dependent CLH inlet efficiency. It is shown that despite the potentially large uncertainty in particle size measurements, the error introduced by this method adds ∼5% error to the IWC calculation. IWC accuracy ranges from 20% at the largest IWC to 50% at small IWC (<5 mg m−3).

* Current affiliation: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Corresponding author address: Sean Davis, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, 1234 Innovation Dr., Boulder, CO 80303. Email: seand@colorado.edu

Abstract

The University of Colorado closed-path tunable diode laser hygrometer (CLH), a new instrument for the in situ measurement of enhanced total water (eTW, the sum of water vapor and condensed water enhanced by a subisokinetic inlet), has recently been flown aboard the NASA DC-8 and WB-57F aircrafts. The CLH has the sensitivity necessary to quantify the ice water content (IWC) of extremely thin subvisual cirrus clouds (∼0.1 mg m−3), while still providing measurements over a large range of conditions typical of upper-tropospheric cirrus (up to 1 g m−3). A key feature of the CLH is its subisokinetic inlet system, which is described in detail in this paper. The enhancement and evaporation of ice particles that results from the heated subisokinetic inlet is described both analytically and based on computational fluid dynamical simulations of the flow around the aircraft. Laboratory mixtures of water vapor with an accuracy of 2%–10% (2σ) were used to calibrate the CLH over a wide range of water vapor mixing ratios (∼50–50 000 ppm) and pressures (∼100–1000 mb). The water vapor retrieval algorithm, which is based on the CLH instrument properties as well as on the spectroscopic properties of the water absorption line, accurately fits the calibration data to within the uncertainty of the calibration mixtures and instrument signal-to-noise ratio. A method for calculating cirrus IWC from the CLH enhanced total water measurement is presented. In this method, the particle enhancement factor is determined from an independent particle size distribution measurement and the size-dependent CLH inlet efficiency. It is shown that despite the potentially large uncertainty in particle size measurements, the error introduced by this method adds ∼5% error to the IWC calculation. IWC accuracy ranges from 20% at the largest IWC to 50% at small IWC (<5 mg m−3).

* Current affiliation: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Corresponding author address: Sean Davis, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado, 1234 Innovation Dr., Boulder, CO 80303. Email: seand@colorado.edu

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