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Ice in Clouds Experiment—Layer Clouds. Part I: Ice Growth Rates Derived from Lenticular Wave Cloud Penetrations

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  • 1 NCAR, Boulder, Colorado
  • | 2 Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom
  • | 3 Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada
  • | 4 Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
  • | 5 University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
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Abstract

Lenticular wave clouds are used as a natural laboratory to estimate the linear and mass growth rates of ice particles at temperatures from −20° to −32°C and to characterize the apparent rate of ice nucleation at water saturation at a nearly constant temperature. Data are acquired from 139 liquid cloud penetrations flown approximately along or against the wind direction. A mean linear ice growth rate of about 1.4 μm s−1, relatively independent of particle size (in the range 100–400 μm) and temperature is deduced. Using the particle size distributions measured along the wind direction, the rate of increase in the ice water content (IWC) is calculated from the measured particle size distributions using theory and from those distributions by assuming different ice particle densities; the IWC is too small to be measured. Very low ice effective densities, <0.1 g cm−3, are needed to account for the observed rate of increase in the IWC and the unexpectedly high linear growth rate.

Using data from multiple penetrations through a narrow (along wind) and thin wave cloud with relatively flat airflow streamlines, growth rate calculations are used to estimate where the ice particles originate and whether the ice is nucleated in a narrow band or over an extended period of time. The calculations are consistent with the expectation that the ice formation occurs near the leading cloud edge, presumably through a condensation–freezing process. The observed ice concentration increase along the wind is more likely due to a variation in ice growth rates than to prolonged ice nucleation.

Corresponding author address: Andrew Heymsfield, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P. O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. E-mail: heyms1@ucar.edu

Abstract

Lenticular wave clouds are used as a natural laboratory to estimate the linear and mass growth rates of ice particles at temperatures from −20° to −32°C and to characterize the apparent rate of ice nucleation at water saturation at a nearly constant temperature. Data are acquired from 139 liquid cloud penetrations flown approximately along or against the wind direction. A mean linear ice growth rate of about 1.4 μm s−1, relatively independent of particle size (in the range 100–400 μm) and temperature is deduced. Using the particle size distributions measured along the wind direction, the rate of increase in the ice water content (IWC) is calculated from the measured particle size distributions using theory and from those distributions by assuming different ice particle densities; the IWC is too small to be measured. Very low ice effective densities, <0.1 g cm−3, are needed to account for the observed rate of increase in the IWC and the unexpectedly high linear growth rate.

Using data from multiple penetrations through a narrow (along wind) and thin wave cloud with relatively flat airflow streamlines, growth rate calculations are used to estimate where the ice particles originate and whether the ice is nucleated in a narrow band or over an extended period of time. The calculations are consistent with the expectation that the ice formation occurs near the leading cloud edge, presumably through a condensation–freezing process. The observed ice concentration increase along the wind is more likely due to a variation in ice growth rates than to prolonged ice nucleation.

Corresponding author address: Andrew Heymsfield, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P. O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. E-mail: heyms1@ucar.edu
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