Optical properties of pristine ice crystals in mid-latitude cirrus clouds: a case study during CIRCLE-2 experiment
Abstract. In this paper, we describe in situ observations of mid-latitude cirrus cloud band carried out on 16 May 2007 during the CIRCLE-2 experiment. The Polar Nephelometer and the Cloud Particle Imager (CPI) instruments with PMS FSSP-300 and 2D-C probes were used for the description of the optical and microphysical cloud properties. Two selected cloud regions are compared and discussed in detail. Significant differences in optical properties are evidenced in terms of 22° halo occurrences even though prevalent planar-plate ice crystals are observed in both cloud regions. Featureless scattering phase functions are measured in the first cloud region located near the trailing edge of the cirrus-band at about 11 800 m/−57 °C. In contrast, well pronounced 22° halo peaks are observed with predominant similar-shaped ice crystals near the cirrus-band leading edge at 7100 m/−27 °C. CPI ice crystal images with Polar Nephelometer observations are carefully analysed and interpreted from a theoretical light scattering model in order to explain occurrence and non-occurrence of the 22° halo feature. The results highlight that the halo peaks are inherent only in perfect plate ice crystals (or pristine crystals). On the basis of previous datasets in mid-latitude cirrus, it is found that simple pristine crystals are uncommon whereas particles with imperfect or complex shapes are prevalent. As a result, phase functions that are smooth and featureless best represent cirrus scattering properties.