Articles | Volume 12, issue 19
Research article
15 Oct 2012
Research article |  | 15 Oct 2012

On the interpretation of an unusual in-situ measured ice crystal scattering phase function

A. J. Baran, J.-F. Gayet, and V. Shcherbakov

Abstract. In-situ Polar Nephelometer (PN) measurements of unusual ice crystal scattering phase functions, obtained near the cloud-top of a mid-latitude anvil cloud, at a temperature of about −58 °C, were recently reported by Gayet et al. (2012). The ice crystal habits that produced the phase functions consisted of aggregates of ice crystals and aggregates of quasi-spherical ice particles. The diameters of the individual quasi-spherical ice particles were estimated to be between about 15 μm and 20 μm. The measured-averaged scattering phase functions were featureless, at scattering angles less than about 100°, but an ice bow-like feature was noted between the scattering angles of about 120° to 160°. The estimated asymmetry parameter was 0.78 ± 0.04.

In this paper, the averaged scattering phase function is interpreted in terms of a weighted habit mixture model. The model that provides the best overall fit to the measured scattering phase function comprises of highly distorted ten-element hexagonal ice aggregates and quasi-spherical ice particles. The smaller quasi-spherical ice crystals are represented by Chebyshev ice particles of order 3, and were assumed to have equivalent spherical diameters of 24 μm. The asymmetry parameter of the best overall model was found to be 0.79. It is argued that the Chebyshev-like ice particles are responsible for the ice bow-like feature and mostly dominate the scattered intensity measured by the PN. The results from this paper have important implications for climate modelling (energy balance of anvils), cloud physics and the remote sensing of cirrus properties.

Final-revised paper