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  • The Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS) x
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society x
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Daniel M. Hueholt
,
Sandra E. Yuter
, and
Matthew A. Miller

Abstract

Ice habit diagrams published prior to 2009—and many since—do not accurately describe in situ observations of ice shapes as a function of temperature and moisture. Laboratory studies and analysis of field observations by Bailey and Hallett in a series of papers in 2002, 2004, and 2009 corrected several errors from earlier studies, but their work has not been widely disseminated. We present a new, simplified diagram based on Bailey and Hallett’s work that focuses on several ice growth forms arising from the underlying surface processes by which mass is added to a crystal: tabular, columnar, branched, side branched, two types of polycrystalline forms, and a multiple growth regime at low ice supersaturations. To aid interpretation for a variety of applications, versions of the ice growth diagram are presented in terms of relative humidity with respect to water as well as the traditional formats of relative humidity with respect to ice and vapor density excess. These diagrams are intended to be understandable and useful in classroom settings at the sophomore undergraduate level and above. The myriad shapes of pristine snow crystals can be described as the result of either a single growth form or a sequence of growth forms. Overlays of data from upper-air soundings on the ice growth diagrams aid interpretation of expected physical properties and processes in conditions of ice growth.

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Lynn A. McMurdie
,
Gerald M. Heymsfield
,
John E. Yorks
,
Scott A. Braun
,
Gail Skofronick-Jackson
,
Robert M. Rauber
,
Sandra Yuter
,
Brian Colle
,
Greg M. McFarquhar
,
Michael Poellot
,
David R. Novak
,
Timothy J. Lang
,
Rachael Kroodsma
,
Matthew McLinden
,
Mariko Oue
,
Pavlos Kollias
,
Matthew R. Kumjian
,
Steven J. Greybush
,
Andrew J. Heymsfield
,
Joseph A. Finlon
,
Victoria L. McDonald
, and
Stephen Nicholls

Abstract

The Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS) is a NASA-sponsored field campaign to study wintertime snowstorms focusing on East Coast cyclones. This large cooperative effort takes place during the winters of 2020–23 to study precipitation variability in winter cyclones to improve remote sensing and numerical forecasts of snowfall. Snowfall within these storms is frequently organized in banded structures on multiple scales. The causes for the occurrence and evolution of a wide spectrum of snowbands remain poorly understood. The goals of IMPACTS are to characterize the spatial and temporal scales and structures of snowbands, understand their dynamical, thermodynamical, and microphysical processes, and apply this understanding to improve remote sensing and modeling of snowfall. The first deployment took place in January–February 2020 with two aircraft that flew coordinated flight patterns and sampled a range of storms from the Midwest to the East Coast. The satellite-simulating ER-2 aircraft flew above the clouds and carried a suite of remote sensing instruments including cloud and precipitation radars, lidar, and passive microwave radiometers. The in situ P-3 aircraft flew within the clouds and sampled environmental and microphysical quantities. Ground-based radar measurements from the National Weather Service network and a suite of radars located on Long Island, New York, along with supplemental soundings and the New York State Mesonet ground network provided environmental context for the airborne observations. Future deployments will occur during the 2022 and 2023 winters. The coordination between remote sensing and in situ platforms makes this a unique publicly available dataset applicable to a wide variety of interests.

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