Articles | Volume 12, issue 19
Research article
01 Oct 2012
Research article |  | 01 Oct 2012

Some effects of ice crystals on the FSSP measurements in mixed phase clouds

G. Febvre, J.-F. Gayet, V. Shcherbakov, C. Gourbeyre, and O. Jourdan

Abstract. In this paper, we show that in mixed phase clouds, the presence of ice crystals may induce wrong FSSP 100 measurements interpretation especially in terms of particle size and subsequent bulk parameters. The presence of ice crystals is generally revealed by a bimodal feature of the particle size distribution (PSD). The combined measurements of the FSSP-100 and the Polar Nephelometer give a coherent description of the effect of the ice crystals on the FSSP-100 response. The FSSP-100 particle size distributions are characterized by a bimodal shape with a second mode peaked between 25 and 35 μm related to ice crystals. This feature is observed with the FSSP-100 at airspeed up to 200 m s−1 and with the FSSP-300 series. In order to assess the size calibration for clouds of ice crystals the response of the FSSP-100 probe has been numerically simulated using a light scattering model of randomly oriented hexagonal ice particles and assuming both smooth and rough crystal surfaces. The results suggest that the second mode, measured between 25 μm and 35 μm, does not necessarily represent true size responses but corresponds to bigger aspherical ice particles. According to simulation results, the sizing understatement would be neglected in the rough case but would be significant with the smooth case. Qualitatively, the Polar Nephelometer phase function suggests that the rough case is the more suitable to describe real crystals. Quantitatively, however, it is difficult to conclude. A review is made to explore different hypotheses explaining the occurrence of the second mode. However, previous cloud in situ measurements suggest that the FSSP-100 secondary mode, peaked in the range 25–35 μm, is likely to be due to the shattering of large ice crystals on the probe inlet. This finding is supported by the rather good relationship between the concentration of particles larger than 20 μm (hypothesized to be ice shattered-fragments measured by the FSSP) and the concentration of (natural) ice particles (CPI data). In mixed cloud, a simple estimation of the number of ice crystals impacting the FSSP inlet shows that the ice crystal shattering effect is the main factor in observed ice production.

Final-revised paper