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G. Lloyd
,
C. Dearden
,
T. W. Choularton
,
J. Crosier
, and
K. N. Bower

Abstract

Three case studies in frontal clouds from the Diabatic Influences on Mesoscale Structures in Extratropical Storms (DIAMET) project are described to understand the microphysical development of the mixed phase regions of these clouds. The cases are a kata-type cold front, a wintertime warm front, and a summertime occluded frontal system. The clouds were observed by radar, satellite, and in situ microphysics measurements from the U.K. Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) research aircraft. The kata cold front cloud was shallow with a cloud-top temperature of approximately −13°C. Cloud-top heterogeneous ice nucleation was found to be consistent with predictions by a primary ice nucleation scheme. The other case studies had high cloud tops (< −40°C) and despite no direct cloud-top measurements in these regions, homogeneous ice nucleation would be expected. The maximum ice crystal concentrations and ice water contents in all clouds were observed at temperatures around −5°C. Graupel was not observed, hence, secondary ice was produced by riming on snow falling through regions of supercooled liquid water. Within these regions substantial concentrations (10–150 L−1) of supercooled drizzle were observed. The freezing of these drops increases the riming rate due to the increase in rimer surface area. Increasing rime accretion has been shown to lead to higher ice splinter production rates. Despite differences in the cloud structure, the maximum ice crystal number concentration in all three clouds was ~100 L−1. Ice water contents were similar in the warm and occluded frontal cases, where median values in both cases reached ~0.2–0.3 g m−3, but lower in the cold front case.

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Diabatic Heating and Cooling Rates Derived from In Situ Microphysics Measurements: A Case Study of a Wintertime U.K. Cold Front

C. Dearden
,
P. J. Connolly
,
G. Lloyd
,
J. Crosier
,
K. N. Bower
,
T. W. Choularton
, and
G. Vaughan

Abstract

In situ measurements associated with the passage of a kata cold front over the United Kingdom on 29 November 2011 are used to initialize a Lagrangian parcel model for the purpose of calculating rates of diabatic heating and cooling associated with the phase changes of water within the cloud system. The parcel model calculations are performed with both bin-resolved and bulk treatments of microphysical processes. The in situ data from this case study reveal droplet number concentrations up to 100 cm−3, with planar ice crystals detected at cloud top, as well as columnar crystals produced by rime splinter ejection within the prefrontal warm sector. The results show that in terms of magnitude, the most significant rates of diabatic heating and cooling are produced by condensation growth of liquid water within the convective updrafts at the leading edge of the front. The peak temperature tendencies associated with condensation are typically found to be at least an order of magnitude larger than those associated with the ice phase, although the cooling effect from sublimation and melting occurs over a wide region. The parcel model framework is used in conjunction with the observations to assess the suitability of existing bulk microphysical treatments, of the kind used in operational weather forecast models. It is found that the assumption of spherical ice crystals (with diameters equal to the maximum dimension of those sampled), along with the use of negative exponential functions to describe ice particle size distributions, can lead to an overestimation of local diabatic heating and cooling rates by a factor of 2 or more.

Open access