For the past three years, a Learjet has been making microphysical measurements in new cloud development on the flanks of multicellular storms in the eastern Transvaal area of South Africa. Data from an imaging probe and a forward scattering spectrometer have been averaged for each storm for all first cloud penetrations between −8° and −12°C. Clear images of drops of diameters greater than 300 μm are found in 40% of the 42 storms measured.
Most of the observed drops are associated with the more “maritime” droplet spectra. Also, the appearance of coalescence around −10°C appears to be related to cloud base temperatures and buoyancies, rather than changes in air masses, suggesting that cloud thermodynamics may play a dominant role in determining cloud microphysics in the Nelspruit area.