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Ice Crystal Sizes in High Ice Water Content Clouds. Part I: On the Computation of Median Mass Diameter from In Situ Measurements

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  • 1 Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, CNRS/Université Blaise Pascal, Aubière, France
  • | 2 Met Analytics, Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Abstract

Engine and air data probe manufacturers, as well as aviation agencies, are interested in better characterization of high ice water content (HIWC) areas close to thunderstorms, since HIWC conditions are suspected to cause in-service engine power loss and air data events on commercial aircraft. In this context, a collaborative field campaign has been conducted by high-altitude ice crystals (HAIC) and HIWC projects in order to provide ice water content and median mass diameter (MMD) of ice crystals in the HIWC environment.

The computation of MMD from in situ measurements relies mainly on the definition of the crystal dimension D and on the relationship, which is used to convert number into mass distributions. The first part of this study shows that MMD can significantly deviate when using different mass–size relationships from the literature. Sensitivity tests demonstrate that MMD is significantly impacted by the choice of β. However, the larger contributor to MMD differences seems to be the choice of the size definition D itself.

Since MMDs are quite sensitive to β, this study suggests a generic method for deducing β solely from optical array probes (OAPs) image data for various size definitions. The method is based on simulations of 3D crystal objects projected onto a 2D plane, thereby relating crystal mass to 2D area (projection) and perimeter. The MMD values calculated for different size definitions are quite similar, at least much closer than MMDs derived from different m(D) relationships in the literature.

Corresponding author address: Delphine Leroy, Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, CNRS/Université Blaise Pascal, 4 Avenue Blaise Pascal, TSA 60026, CS 60026, 63178 Aubière CEDEX, France. E-mail: d.leroy@opgc.univ-bpclermont.fr

Abstract

Engine and air data probe manufacturers, as well as aviation agencies, are interested in better characterization of high ice water content (HIWC) areas close to thunderstorms, since HIWC conditions are suspected to cause in-service engine power loss and air data events on commercial aircraft. In this context, a collaborative field campaign has been conducted by high-altitude ice crystals (HAIC) and HIWC projects in order to provide ice water content and median mass diameter (MMD) of ice crystals in the HIWC environment.

The computation of MMD from in situ measurements relies mainly on the definition of the crystal dimension D and on the relationship, which is used to convert number into mass distributions. The first part of this study shows that MMD can significantly deviate when using different mass–size relationships from the literature. Sensitivity tests demonstrate that MMD is significantly impacted by the choice of β. However, the larger contributor to MMD differences seems to be the choice of the size definition D itself.

Since MMDs are quite sensitive to β, this study suggests a generic method for deducing β solely from optical array probes (OAPs) image data for various size definitions. The method is based on simulations of 3D crystal objects projected onto a 2D plane, thereby relating crystal mass to 2D area (projection) and perimeter. The MMD values calculated for different size definitions are quite similar, at least much closer than MMDs derived from different m(D) relationships in the literature.

Corresponding author address: Delphine Leroy, Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, CNRS/Université Blaise Pascal, 4 Avenue Blaise Pascal, TSA 60026, CS 60026, 63178 Aubière CEDEX, France. E-mail: d.leroy@opgc.univ-bpclermont.fr
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