A Study of Cirrus Ice Particle Size Distribution Using TC4 Observations

Lin Tian Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland

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Gerald M. Heymsfield NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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Lihua Li NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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

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Aaron Bansemer National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Cynthia H. Twohy University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon

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Ramesh C. Srivastava Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland
Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

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Abstract

An analysis of two days of in situ observations of ice particle size spectra, in convectively generated cirrus, obtained during NASA’s Tropical Composition, Cloud, and Climate Coupling (TC4) mission is presented. The observed spectra are examined for their fit to the exponential, gamma, and lognormal function distributions. Characteristic particle size and concentration density scales are determined using two (for the exponential) or three (for the gamma and lognormal functions) moments of the spectra. It is shown that transformed exponential, gamma, and lognormal distributions should collapse onto standard curves. An examination of the transformed spectra, and of deviations of the transformed spectra from the standard curves, shows that the lognormal function provides a better fit to the observed spectra.

Corresponding author address: Lin Tian, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 613.1, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: tian@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

Abstract

An analysis of two days of in situ observations of ice particle size spectra, in convectively generated cirrus, obtained during NASA’s Tropical Composition, Cloud, and Climate Coupling (TC4) mission is presented. The observed spectra are examined for their fit to the exponential, gamma, and lognormal function distributions. Characteristic particle size and concentration density scales are determined using two (for the exponential) or three (for the gamma and lognormal functions) moments of the spectra. It is shown that transformed exponential, gamma, and lognormal distributions should collapse onto standard curves. An examination of the transformed spectra, and of deviations of the transformed spectra from the standard curves, shows that the lognormal function provides a better fit to the observed spectra.

Corresponding author address: Lin Tian, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 613.1, Greenbelt, MD 20771. Email: tian@agnes.gsfc.nasa.gov

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