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D. A. Burrows and J. L. Stith

Abstract

The alignment of columnar ice crystals due to the electric field surrounding a moving charged object, such as an aircraft, is modeled. The model allows the conditions of charge, velocity, ambient electric field, and size and shape of crystal to be specified. The electrical charge required to produce significant alignment effects can realistically be expected to be acquired by an aircraft in snowfall, given the model results and previous studies of the electrical characteristics of aircraft. The model predicts the orientation of crystals as they approach a charged object. Airborne observations of crystals from a two-dimensional imaging probe reveal similar alignment characteristics to those predicted by the model.

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Timothy J. Lang, Steven A. Rutledge, and Jeffrey L. Stith

Abstract

On a few occasions during the summer and fall of 2002, and again in the fall of 2003, the Colorado State University (CSU)–University of Chicago–Illinois State Water Survey (CHILL) S-band polarimetric Doppler radar observed dumbbell-shaped radar echo patterns in precipitation-free air returns. Dumbbell shaped refers to two distinct and quasi-symmetrical regions of echo surrounding the radar. These were horizontally widespread (thousands of square kilometers) layers, with the highest reflectivity factors (sometimes >20 dBZ) arranged approximately perpendicular to the direction of the mean wind. The echoes coincided with strongly positive differential reflectivity (Z DR) measurements (often >4 dB). Most interestingly, the echoes were elevated near the top of the boundary layer in the 2–3-km-AGL vertical range. Assuming a horizontally uniform layer of scatterers, the observations suggest that targets aloft are quasi prolate in shape and aligned horizontally along the direction of the mean wind. The echoes tended to occur on days when nocturnal inversions persisted into the following day, and solenoidal-like circulations (easterly upslope near the surface, and westerly flow aloft) existed. In some cases, the echoes exhibited diurnal behavior, with dumbbell-shaped echoes only occurring during the day and a more azimuthally uniform echo at night. On occasion, the echoes were coincident with the occurrence of widespread smoke from nearby forest fires. It is suggested that these echoes, which are rare for the CSU–CHILL coverage region, were caused by insects flying in a preferred direction, with the trigger for the migration being either the forest fires or oncoming winter. The local meteorological conditions likely affected the structure of these echoes.

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Michael W. Huston, Andrew G. Detwiler, Fred J. Kopp, and Jeffrey L. Stith

Abstract

Observations made by three instrumented aircraft, a Doppler radar, and other data sources were used to follow the initiation and development of precipitation in a small cumulus congestus cloud. The cloud was seeded at its base using an airborne silver iodide solution burner. Sulfur hexafluoride tracer gas was released along with the seeding material. Analyzers on two instrumented aircraft detected the tracer gas during subsequent cloud penetrations as it was carried up into the cloud along with the seeding agent. Ice developed initially in the upper regions of the cloud near the −10°C level ∼15 min after the commencement of seeding. This is consistent with primary nucleation by the seeding agent. The cloud developed millimeter-size graupel within the following few minutes. A radar echo approaching 40 dBZ subsequently developed. The echo was observed to descend through the cloud as the cloud dissipated.

One-dimensional, steady-state and two-dimensional, time-dependent bulk water models were used to simulate this cloud. The one-dimensional model produced realistic values for updraft speeds allowing credible estimates of time required for transport from cloud base to upper regions of the cloud. The development of precipitation in the two-dimensional simulation resembled that in the observed cloud. Precipitation developed through riming of snow to graupel. In both the observed and simulated clouds, precipitation development was limited by cloud lifetime. Both clouds collapsed at a time when they were still generating ample supercooled water in their updrafts. Total precipitation on the ground from the seeded cloud simulations was ∼5 times the radar estimated rainfall total of 0.5 mm from the observed seeded cloud. This occurred despite the fact that the simulated cloud went through an accelerated life cycle compared to the observed cloud. A comparison between simulations with a natural ice process and with cloud base release of silver iodide shows that seeding accelerated precipitation formation in the model cloud leading to a fourfold increase in total precipitation for the seeded cases compared to the natural one.

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Jeffrey L. Stith, James E. Dye, Aaron Bansemer, Andrew J. Heymsfield, Cedric A. Grainger, Walter A. Petersen, and Robert Cifelli

Abstract

The results from airborne in situ sampling of convective tropical storms in the Amazon and Kwajalein are presented. Three cases from the Amazon and two from Kwajalein are compared and provide examples of the much larger dataset that was obtained from field campaigns in these two regions during 1999. The strength of the updraft was a major factor in determining the microphysical characteristics of hydrometeors. Weak updrafts exhibited a well-developed warm rain process by the time droplets had reached the freezing level. Stronger updrafts (>5 m s−1) contained smaller droplets or ice particles at cloud midlevels than regions with the weaker updrafts. Significant supercooled liquid water was found only at temperatures warmer than −12°C, although traces of liquid water were observed at temperatures as cold as −18°C. In deep stratiform anvil regions, aggregation was observed to be a major growth mechanism. These clouds did not contain appreciable amounts of supercooled water. Clouds with similar updrafts in the Amazon and Kwajalein exhibited similar particle types and concentrations. The implications of these results for current Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) investigations are discussed.

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Andrew J. Heymsfield, Aaron Bansemer, Paul R. Field, Stephen L. Durden, Jeffrey L. Stith, James E. Dye, William Hall, and Cedric A. Grainger

Abstract

This study reports on the evolution of particle size distributions (PSDs) and habits as measured during slow, Lagrangian-type spiral descents through deep subtropical and tropical cloud layers in Florida, Brazil, and Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, most of which were precipitating. The objective of the flight patterns was to learn more about how the PSDs evolved in the vertical and to obtain information of the vertical structure of microphysical properties. New instrumentation yielding better information on the concentrations of particles in the size (D) range between 0.2 and 2 cm, as well as improved particle imagery, produced more comprehensive observations for tropical stratiform precipitation regions and anvils than have been available previously. Collocated radar observations provided additional information on the vertical structure of the cloud layers sampled.

Most of the spirals began at cloud top, with temperatures (T) as low as −50°C, and ended at cloud base or below the melting layer (ML). The PSDs broadened from cloud top toward cloud base, with the largest particles increasing in size from several millimeters at cloud top, to 1 cm or larger toward cloud base. Some continued growth was noted in the upper part of the ML. Concentrations of particles less than 1 mm in size decreased with decreasing height. The result was a consistent change in the PSDs in the vertical. Similarly, systematic changes in the size dependence of the particle cross-sectional area was noted with decreasing height. Aggregation—as ascertained from both the changes in the PSDs and evolution of particle habits as observed in high detail with the cloud particle imager (CPI) probe—was responsible for these trends.

The PSDs were generally well-represented by gamma distributions of the form N = N D μ e λΓD that were fitted to the PSDs over 1-km horizontal intervals throughout the spirals. The intercept (N ), slope (λ Γ), and dispersion (μ) values were derived for each PSD. Exponential curves (N = N 0 e λD; μ = 0) were also fitted to the distributions. The λ Γ values for given spirals varied systematically with temperature as did the values of λ (exponential), and the data generally conformed to values found in previous studies involving exponential fits to size distributions in midlatitude frontal and cirrus layers. Considerable variability often noted in the PSD properties during the loops of individual spirals was manifested primarily in large changes in N and N 0, but μ, λ Γ, and λ remained fairly stable. Temperature is not found to be the sole factor controlling λ Γ or λ, but is a primary one. Direct relationships were found between λ Γ and N , or λ Γ and μ, for the gamma distributions, and λ and N 0 for the exponential. The latter relationship was not found as distinctly in earlier studies; observed PSDs in this study had better fidelity with less scatter. The μ values changed monotonically with T over the range of temperatures and were directly related to N or λ Γ, thereby reducing the number of variables in the PSD functional equation to two. In the upper part of the ML, N 0, and λ continued to decrease, and in the lower part these values began to increase as the largest particles melted.

General expressions relating various bulk microphysical, radar, and radiative-transfer-related variables to N and λ Γ were developed; they are useful for both tropical and midlatitude clouds. These relationships facilitate the specification of a number of bulk properties in cloud and climate models. The results presented in this paper apply best to temperatures between 0° and −40°C, for which the measured radar reflectivities fall in the range of 0 to 25 dBZ e.

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David E. Kingsmill, Sandra E. Yuter, Andrew J. Heymsfield, Peter V. Hobbs, Alexei V. Korolev, Stith Jeffrey L, Aaron Bansemer, Julie A. Haggerty, and Arthur L. Rangno

Abstract

A customized product for analysis of microphysics data collected from aircraft during field campaigns in support of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) program is described. These “common microphysics products” (CMPs) are designed to aid in evaluation of TRMM spaceborne precipitation retrieval algorithms. Information needed for this purpose (e.g., particle size spectra and habit, liquid and ice water content) was derived by using a common processing strategy on the wide variety of microphysical instruments and raw native data formats employed in the field campaigns. The CMPs are organized into an American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) structure to allow easy access to the data for those less familiar with microphysical data processing and without the tools to accomplish it. Detailed examples of the CMP show its potential and some of its limitations. This approach may be a first step toward developing a generalized microphysics format and an associated community-oriented, nonproprietary software package for microphysics data processing—initiatives that would likely broaden community access to, and use of, microphysics datasets.

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Bruce A. Boe, Jeffrey L. Stith, Paul L. Smith, John H. Hirsch, John H. Helsdon Jr., Andrew G. Detwiler, Harold D. Orville, Brooks E. Mariner, Roger F. Reinking, Rebecca J. Meitín, and Rodger A. Brown

The North Dakota Thunderstorm Project was conducted in the Bismarck, North Dakota, area from 12 June through 22 July 1989. The project deployed Doppler radars, cloud physics aircraft, and supporting instrumentation to study a variety of aspects of convective clouds. These included transport and dispersion; entrainment; cloud-ice initiation and evolution; storm structure, dynamics, and kinematics; atmospheric chemistry; and electrification.

Of primary interest were tracer experiments that identified and tracked specific regions within evolving clouds as a means of investigating the transport, dispersion, and activation of ice-nucleating agents as well as studying basic transport and entrainment processes. Tracers included sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), carbon monoxide, ozone, radar chaff, and silver iodide.

Doppler radars were used to perform studies of all scales of convection, from first-echo cases to a mesoscale convective system. An especially interesting dual-Doppler study of two splitting thunderstorms has resulted.

The objectives of the various project experiments and the specific facilities employed are described. Project highlights and some preliminary results are also presented.

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D. Baumgardner, L. Avallone, A. Bansemer, S. Borrmann, P. Brown, U. Bundke, P. Y. Chuang, D. Cziczo, P. Field, M. Gallagher, J.-F. Gayet, A. Heymsfield, A. Korolev, M. Krämer, G. McFarquhar, S. Mertes, O. Möhler, S. Lance, P. Lawson, M. D. Petters, K. Pratt, G. Roberts, D. Rogers, O. Stetzer, J. Stith, W. Strapp, C. Twohy, and M. Wendisch

No abstract available.

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Robert M. Rauber, Bjorn Stevens, Harry T. Ochs III, Charles Knight, B. A. Albrecht, A. M. Blyth, C. W. Fairall, J. B. Jensen, S. G. Lasher-Trapp, O. L. Mayol-Bracero, G. Vali, J. R. Anderson, B. A. Baker, A. R. Bandy, E. Burnet, J.-L. Brenguier, W. A. Brewer, P. R. A. Brown, R Chuang, W. R. Cotton, L. Di Girolamo, B. Geerts, H. Gerber, S. Göke, L. Gomes, B. G. Heikes, J. G. Hudson, P. Kollias, R. R Lawson, S. K. Krueger, D. H. Lenschow, L. Nuijens, D. W. O'Sullivan, R. A. Rilling, D. C. Rogers, A. P. Siebesma, E. Snodgrass, J. L. Stith, D. C. Thornton, S. Tucker, C. H. Twohy, and P. Zuidema

Shallow, maritime cumuli are ubiquitous over much of the tropical oceans, and characterizing their properties is important to understanding weather and climate. The Rain in Cumulus over the Ocean (RICO) field campaign, which took place during November 2004–January 2005 in the trades over the western Atlantic, emphasized measurements of processes related to the formation of rain in shallow cumuli, and how rain subsequently modifies the structure and ensemble statistics of trade wind clouds. Eight weeks of nearly continuous S-band polarimetric radar sampling, 57 flights from three heavily instrumented research aircraft, and a suite of ground- and ship-based instrumentation provided data on trade wind clouds with unprecedented resolution. Observational strategies employed during RICO capitalized on the advances in remote sensing and other instrumentation to provide insight into processes that span a range of scales and that lie at the heart of questions relating to the cause and effects of rain from shallow maritime cumuli.

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Robert M. Rauber, Harry T. Ochs III, L. Di Girolamo, S. Göke, E. Snodgrass, Bjorn Stevens, Charles Knight, J. B. Jensen, D. H. Lenschow, R. A. Rilling, D. C. Rogers, J. L. Stith, B. A. Albrecht, P. Zuidema, A. M. Blyth, C. W. Fairall, W. A. Brewer, S. Tucker, S. G. Lasher-Trapp, O. L. Mayol-Bracero, G. Vali, B. Geerts, J. R. Anderson, B. A. Baker, R. P. Lawson, A. R. Bandy, D. C. Thornton, E. Burnet, J-L. Brenguier, L. Gomes, P. R. A. Brown, P. Chuang, W. R. Cotton, H. Gerber, B. G. Heikes, J. G. Hudson, P. Kollias, S. K. Krueger, L. Nuijens, D. W. O'Sullivan, A. P. Siebesma, and C. H. Twohy
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