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  • Author or Editor: Sergey Y. Matrosov x
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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

Ground-based vertically pointing and airborne/spaceborne nadir-pointing millimeter-wavelength radars are being increasingly used worldwide. Though such radars are primarily designed for cloud remote sensing, they can also be used for precipitation measurements including snowfall estimates. In this study, modeling of snowfall radar properties is performed for the common frequencies of millimeter-wavelength radars such as those used by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program (Ka and W bands) and the CloudSat mission (W band). Realistic snowflake models including aggregates and single dendrite crystals were used. The model input included appropriate mass–size and terminal fall velocity–size relations and snowflake orientation and shape assumptions. It was shown that unlike in the Rayleigh scattering regime, which is often applicable for longer radar wavelengths, the spherical model does not generally satisfactorily describe scattering of larger snowflakes at millimeter wavelengths. This is especially true when, due to aerodynamic forcing, these snowflakes are oriented primarily with their major dimensions in the horizontal plane and the zenith/nadir radar pointing geometry is used. As a result of modeling using the experimental snowflake size distributions, radar reflectivity–liquid equivalent snowfall rates (Z eS) relations are suggested for “dry” snowfalls that consist of mostly unrimed snowflakes containing negligible amounts of liquid water. Owing to uncertainties in the model assumptions, these relations, which are derived for the common Ka- and W-band radar frequencies, have significant variability in their coefficients that can exceed a factor of 2 or so. Modeling snowfall attenuation suggests that the attenuation effects in “dry” snowfall can be neglected at the Ka band for most practical cases, while at the W band attenuation may need to be accounted for in heavier snowfalls observed at longer ranges.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov

Abstract

A theoretical investigation of radar polarization parameters that characterize cloud ice backscattering is presented. The parameters considered were those commonly used in radar polarimetrics such as differential reflectivity (ZDR), linear depolarization ratio (LDR), circular depolarization ratio (CDR), intrinsic degree of orientation (ORTT) as well as conventional reflectivities. Experimental data on the shapes of ice crystals and their orientations are taken into account. Results suggest that prolate-shaped scatterers can be distinguished from those having oblate shapes by analyzing the depolarization ratio dependence on the elevation angle. Calculations suggest that circular polarization parameters provide stronger signals in a cross-polar channel and also show a 1esser dependence on scatterer orientation in comparison with linear polarization parameters. Propagation effects do not significantly affect the polarization parameters for equivalent water contents and cloud thicknesses that are typical for cirrus clouds. Differential phase shift that might be observed in cirrus clouds is relatively small. Finally, equivalent reflectivity factors are analyzed for several ice particle types as a function of their major axis. Reflectivity dependence on particle shapes is demonstrated, and comments on the possibility of making approximate estimates of cloud particle sizes are given.

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Sergey Y. Matrosov
,
Roger F. Reinking
, and
Irina V. Djalalova

Abstract

Single pristine planar ice crystals exhibit some flutter around their preferential horizontal orientation as they fall. This study presents estimates of flutter and analyzes predominant fall attitudes of pristine dendritic crystals observed with a polarization agile Ka-band cloud radar. The observations were made in weakly precipitating winter clouds on slopes of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire. The radar is capable of measuring the linear depolarization ratios in the standard horizontal–vertical polarization basis (HLDR) and the slant 45°–135° polarization basis (SLDR). Both HLDR and SLDR depend on crystal shape. HLDR also exhibits a strong dependence on crystal orientation, while SLDR depends only weakly on orientation. The different sensitivities of SLDR and HLDR to the shape and orientation effects are interpreted to estimate the angular flutter of crystals. A simple analytical expression is derived for the standard deviation of angular flutter as a function of the HLDR to SLDR ratio assuming perfect radar system characteristics. The flutter is also assessed by matching theoretical and observed depolarization patterns as a function of the elevation of the radar’s beam. The matching procedure is generally more robust since it accounts for the actual polarization states and imperfections in the radar hardware. The depolarization approach was used to estimate flutter of falling pristine dendrites that were characterized by Reynolds numbers in a range of approximately 40–100. Using the matching approach, this flutter was found to be about 9° ± 3°, as expressed by the standard deviation of the crystal minor axes from the vertical direction. The analytical expression provides a value of flutter of about 12°, which is at the high end of the estimate obtained by the matching procedure. The difference is explained by the imperfections in the polarization states and radar hardware, so the analytical result serves as an upper bound to the more robust result from matching. The values of flutter estimated from the experimental example are comparable to estimates for planar crystals obtained in laboratory models and by individual crystal sampling.

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Matthew D. Shupe
,
Sergey Y. Matrosov
, and
Taneil Uttal

Abstract

Arctic mixed-phase cloud macro- and microphysical properties are derived from a year of radar, lidar, microwave radiometer, and radiosonde observations made as part of the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) Program in the Beaufort Sea in 1997–98. Mixed-phase clouds occurred 41% of the time and were most frequent in the spring and fall transition seasons. These clouds often consisted of a shallow, cloud-top liquid layer from which ice particles formed and fell, although deep, multilayered mixed-phase cloud scenes were also observed. On average, individual cloud layers persisted for 12 h, while some mixed-phase cloud systems lasted for many days. Ninety percent of the observed mixed-phase clouds were 0.5–3 km thick, had a cloud base of 0–2 km, and resided at a temperature of −25° to −5°C. Under the assumption that the relatively large ice crystals dominate the radar signal, ice properties were retrieved from these clouds using radar reflectivity measurements. The annual average ice particle mean diameter, ice water content, and ice water path were 93 μm, 0.027 g m−3, and 42 g m−2, respectively. These values are all larger than those found in single-phase ice clouds at SHEBA. Vertically resolved cloud liquid properties were not retrieved; however, the annual average, microwave radiometer–derived liquid water path (LWP) in mixed-phase clouds was 61 g m−2. This value is larger than the average LWP observed in single-phase liquid clouds because the liquid water layers in the mixed-phase clouds tended to be thicker than those in all-liquid clouds. Although mixed-phase clouds were observed down to temperatures of about −40°C, the liquid fraction (ratio of LWP to total condensed water path) increased on average from zero at −24°C to one at −14°C. The observations show a range of ∼25°C at any given liquid fraction and a phase transition relationship that may change moderately with season.

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