Magnitude of Error Factors in Estimates of Snow-Particle Masses from Images

Andrew G. Detwiler Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota

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Nancy C. Knight Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Andrew J. Heymsfield Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Ice particles are captured, photographed, melted, and then photographed again. Mass is estimated from the size of the melted drop. Based on a sample of 640 particles, the standard error in estimating particle mass solely from the maximum dimension of the particle is found to be a factor of 4. The standard error in estimating mass concentration M in a cloud from a sample of n well-characterized particles recorded by an optical array probe is estimated to be approximately a factor of 100.6/n^1/2.

Abstract

Ice particles are captured, photographed, melted, and then photographed again. Mass is estimated from the size of the melted drop. Based on a sample of 640 particles, the standard error in estimating particle mass solely from the maximum dimension of the particle is found to be a factor of 4. The standard error in estimating mass concentration M in a cloud from a sample of n well-characterized particles recorded by an optical array probe is estimated to be approximately a factor of 100.6/n^1/2.

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