Ice Initiation in Unmixed Updraft Cores in Northeast Colorado Cumulus Congestus Clouds

Andrew J. Heymsfield National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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Charles A. Knight National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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James E. Dye National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307

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Abstract

Ice particle concentrations have been measured from the NOAA/NCAR Explorer sailplane in unmixed and mixed updraft regions within northeast Colorado cumulus congestus clouds, and compared with the concentrations predicted from measured ice nucleus spectra. The clouds investigated were “cold, continental” cumulus with droplet populations of ∼1000 cm−3 and cloud base temperatures between +7 and −7°C. The concentrations of ice particles within unmixed updraft regions, exclusive of ice particles so large that they almost certainly entered the unmixed region by sedimentation or recycling, are consistent with those expected on the basis of the ice nucleus spectra, suggesting that primary ice nucleation is the dominant mechanism active within these regions. Millimetric size ice particles found within unmixed updraft cores presumably enter through sedimentation or recycling. The data do not indicate an important role for ice multiplication in these clouds.

Abstract

Ice particle concentrations have been measured from the NOAA/NCAR Explorer sailplane in unmixed and mixed updraft regions within northeast Colorado cumulus congestus clouds, and compared with the concentrations predicted from measured ice nucleus spectra. The clouds investigated were “cold, continental” cumulus with droplet populations of ∼1000 cm−3 and cloud base temperatures between +7 and −7°C. The concentrations of ice particles within unmixed updraft regions, exclusive of ice particles so large that they almost certainly entered the unmixed region by sedimentation or recycling, are consistent with those expected on the basis of the ice nucleus spectra, suggesting that primary ice nucleation is the dominant mechanism active within these regions. Millimetric size ice particles found within unmixed updraft cores presumably enter through sedimentation or recycling. The data do not indicate an important role for ice multiplication in these clouds.

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