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Sergey Y. Matrosov, Roger F. Reinking, Robert A. Kropfli, and Bruce W. Bartram

Abstract

An approach to distinguish between various types of ice hydrometeors and to estimate their shapes using radar polarization measurements is discussed. It is shown that elevation angle dependencies of radar depolarization ratios can be used to distinguish between planar crystals, columnar crystals, and aggregates in reasonably homogeneous stratiform clouds. Absolute values of these ratios depend on the reflectivity-weighted mean particle aspect ratio in the polarization plane. Circular depolarization ratios depend on this ratio, and linear depolarization ratios depend on this ratio and particle orientation in the polarization plane. The use of nearly circular elliptical polarization provides a means of measuring depolarization for low reflectivity scatterers when the circular polarization fails due to low signal level in one of the receiving channels. Modeling of radar backscattering was applied to the elliptical depolarization ratios as measured by the Ka-band radar developed at the NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory. Experimental data taken during the Winter Icing and Storms Instrument Test experiment in 1993 generally confirmed the calculations and demonstrated the applicability of the approach.

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Roger F. Reinking, Sergey Y. Matrosov, Robert A. Kropfli, and Bruce W. Bartram

Abstract

A remote sensing capability is needed to detect clouds of supercooled, drizzle-sized droplets, which are a major aircraft icing hazard. Discrimination among clouds of differing ice particle types is also important because both the presence and type of ice influence the survival of liquid in a cloud and the chances for occurrence of these large, most hazardous droplets. This work shows how millimeter-wavelength dual-polarization radar can be used to identify these differing hydrometeors. It also shows that by measuring the depolarization ratio (DR), the estimation of the hydrometeor type can be accomplished deterministically for drizzle droplets; ice particles of regular shapes; and to a considerable extent, the more irregular ice particles, and that discrimination is strongly influenced by the polarization state of the transmitted microwave radiation. Thus, appropriate selection of the polarization state is emphasized.

The selection of an optimal polarization state involves trade-offs in competing factors such as the functional dynamic range of DR, sensitivity to low-reflectivity clouds, and insensitivity to oscillations in the settling orientations of ice crystals. A 45° slant, quasi-linear polarization state, one in which only slight ellipticity is introduced, was found to offer a very good compromise, providing considerable advantages over standard horizontal and substantially elliptical polarizations. This was determined by theoretical scattering calculations that were verified experimentally in field measurements conducted during the Mount Washington Icing Sensors Project (MWISP). A selectable-dual-polarization Ka-band (8.66-mm wavelength) radar was used. A wide variety of hydrometeor types was sampled. Clear differentiation among planar crystals, columnar crystals, and drizzle droplets was achieved. Also, differentiation among crystals of fundamentally different shapes (aspect ratios) within each of the planar and columnar families was found possible. These distinctions matched calculations of DR, usually to within 1 or 2 dB. The results from MWISP and from previous experiments with other polarizations have demonstrated that the agreement between theory and measurements by this method is repeatable. Additionally, although less rigorously predicted by theory, the field measurements demonstrated substantial differentiation among the more irregular and more spherical ice particles, including aggregates, elongated aggregates, heavily rimed dendrites, and graupel. Measurable separation between these various irregular ice particle types and drizzle droplets was also verified.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov, Andrew J. Heymsfield, Robert A. Kropfli, Brooks E. Martner, Roger F. Reinking, Jack B. Snider, Paivi Piironen, and Edwin W. Eloranta

Abstract

Ice cloud microphysical parameters derived from a remote sensing method that uses ground-based measurements from the Environmental Technology Laboratory’s Ka-band radar and an IR radiometer are compared to those obtained from aircraft sampling for the cirrus priority event from the FIRE-II experiment. Aircraft cloud samples were taken not only by traditional two-dimensional probes but also by using a new video sampler to account for small particles. The cloud parameter comparisons were made for time intervals when aircraft were passing approximately above ground-based instruments that were pointed vertically. Comparing characteristic particle sizes expressed in terms of median mass diameters of equal-volume spheres yielded a relative standard deviation of about 30%. The corresponding standard deviation for the cloud ice water content comparisons was about 55%. Such an agreement is considered good given uncertainties of both direct and remote approaches and several orders of magnitude in natural variability of ice cloud parameters. Values of reflectivity measured by the radar and calculated from aircraft samples also showed a reasonable agreement; however, calculated reflectivities averaged approximately 2 dB smaller than those measured. The possible reasons for this small bias are discussed. Ground-based and aircraft-derived particle characteristic sizes are compared to those available from published satellite measurements of this parameter for the cirrus priority case from FIRE-II. Finally, simultaneous and collocated, ground-based measurements of visible (0.523 nm) and longwave IR (10–11.4 μm) ice cloud extinction optical thickness obtained during the 1995 Arizona Program are also compared. These comparisons, performed for different cloud conditions, revealed a relative standard deviation of less than 20%;however, no systematic excess of visible extinction over IR extinction was observed in the considered experimental events.

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