The Effects of Small Ice Crystals on Cirrus Infrared Radiative Properties

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  • 1 Department of Meteorology/CARSS, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2 Atmospheric Sciences Division, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
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Abstract

Using a model that combines single-scattering properties for spheroidal and hexagonal ice crystals, the thermal infrared radiative properties of cirrus clouds have been investigated. Infrared scattering and absorption properties for randomly oriented spheroids and hexagons are parameterized based on the anomalous diffraction theory and a geometric ray-tracing method, respectively. Using observed ice crystal size distributions, upwelling radiances at the top of cirrus cloudy atmospheres have been computed. Results show that the presence of small ice crystals can produce significant brightness temperature differences between two infrared wavelengths in the 10-μm window. Theoretical results have been compared with observed brightness temperature differences between 8.35 and 11.16 μm and between 11.16 and 12 μm. The observed values were obtained from the High-Spectral Resolution Interferometer Sounder. It is shown that the use of the present nonspherical model for ice crystals in radiative transfer calculations leads to a significantly better interpretation of the observed data than does the use of the spherical model.

Abstract

Using a model that combines single-scattering properties for spheroidal and hexagonal ice crystals, the thermal infrared radiative properties of cirrus clouds have been investigated. Infrared scattering and absorption properties for randomly oriented spheroids and hexagons are parameterized based on the anomalous diffraction theory and a geometric ray-tracing method, respectively. Using observed ice crystal size distributions, upwelling radiances at the top of cirrus cloudy atmospheres have been computed. Results show that the presence of small ice crystals can produce significant brightness temperature differences between two infrared wavelengths in the 10-μm window. Theoretical results have been compared with observed brightness temperature differences between 8.35 and 11.16 μm and between 11.16 and 12 μm. The observed values were obtained from the High-Spectral Resolution Interferometer Sounder. It is shown that the use of the present nonspherical model for ice crystals in radiative transfer calculations leads to a significantly better interpretation of the observed data than does the use of the spherical model.

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