Microphysical Effects of Wintertime Cloud Seeding with Silver Iodide over the Rocky Mountains. Part III: Observations over the Grand Mesa, Colorado

View More View Less
  • 1 Bureau of Reclamation, Montrose Skywater Office, Montrose, Colorado
© Get Permissions
Full access

Abstract

During March 1986, several airborne and ground-based silver iodide (AgI) seeding experiments were conducted over the Grand Mesa, Colorado, during a three-day period of northerly flow and shallow orographic cloud. While little natural snowfall was observed during these experiments, supercooled liquid water formed over the windward slopes and evaporated to the lee of the mesa of many hours. Seeding-induced microphysical changes coincident with the AgI plumes were found in all eight experiments, (including two that employed ground-based seeding) by aircraft sampling about 500 m above the mesa top. Precipitation rates estimated from ice particle images at light levels suggested increases within the seeded volumes in all but one experiment. Surface precipitation increases were observed in three aircraft seeding experiments and one ground-based seeding experiment that coincided with the passage of AgI plumes aloft. Surface observations were not possible during the other ground-based seeding experiment, but some increase in snowfall is thought probable. Three aircraft seeding experiments failed to show surface snowfall increases, and reasons for this are explored.

Abstract

During March 1986, several airborne and ground-based silver iodide (AgI) seeding experiments were conducted over the Grand Mesa, Colorado, during a three-day period of northerly flow and shallow orographic cloud. While little natural snowfall was observed during these experiments, supercooled liquid water formed over the windward slopes and evaporated to the lee of the mesa of many hours. Seeding-induced microphysical changes coincident with the AgI plumes were found in all eight experiments, (including two that employed ground-based seeding) by aircraft sampling about 500 m above the mesa top. Precipitation rates estimated from ice particle images at light levels suggested increases within the seeded volumes in all but one experiment. Surface precipitation increases were observed in three aircraft seeding experiments and one ground-based seeding experiment that coincided with the passage of AgI plumes aloft. Surface observations were not possible during the other ground-based seeding experiment, but some increase in snowfall is thought probable. Three aircraft seeding experiments failed to show surface snowfall increases, and reasons for this are explored.

Save