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Mass-Dimensional Relationships for Ice Particles and the Influence of Riming on Snowfall Rates

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  • 1 Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada
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Abstract

The masses, dimensions, and habits of over 2800 natural ice particles precipitating from orographic winter storms in the central Sierra Nevada were obtained using photomicrographs. Ice particles that could be unambiguously classified were used to generate empirical expressions relating snow particle masses and dimensions. Many of the ice particle types had not been investigated previously. The influence of riming and aggregation on ice particle masses was examined. When possible, comparisons are made between these results and those of other experimental observations. By incorporating these mass-dimensional relationships into an expression for the ice mass content in a snowstorm, it was possible to estimate the mass fraction of the fresh snowpack resulting from accreted supercooled cloud water. The results from two storms analyzed suggest that about 30 to 40 percent of the deposited snow is composed of accreted cloud water during moderately rimed snowfall.

Abstract

The masses, dimensions, and habits of over 2800 natural ice particles precipitating from orographic winter storms in the central Sierra Nevada were obtained using photomicrographs. Ice particles that could be unambiguously classified were used to generate empirical expressions relating snow particle masses and dimensions. Many of the ice particle types had not been investigated previously. The influence of riming and aggregation on ice particle masses was examined. When possible, comparisons are made between these results and those of other experimental observations. By incorporating these mass-dimensional relationships into an expression for the ice mass content in a snowstorm, it was possible to estimate the mass fraction of the fresh snowpack resulting from accreted supercooled cloud water. The results from two storms analyzed suggest that about 30 to 40 percent of the deposited snow is composed of accreted cloud water during moderately rimed snowfall.

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