Articles | Volume 16, issue 11
Research article
10 Jun 2016
Research article |  | 10 Jun 2016

Derivation of physical and optical properties of mid-latitude cirrus ice crystals for a size-resolved cloud microphysics model

Ann M. Fridlind, Rachel Atlas, Bastiaan van Diedenhoven, Junshik Um, Greg M. McFarquhar, Andrew S. Ackerman, Elisabeth J. Moyer, and R. Paul Lawson

Abstract. Single-crystal images collected in mid-latitude cirrus are analyzed to provide internally consistent ice physical and optical properties for a size-resolved cloud microphysics model, including single-particle mass, projected area, fall speed, capacitance, single-scattering albedo, and asymmetry parameter. Using measurements gathered during two flights through a widespread synoptic cirrus shield, bullet rosettes are found to be the dominant identifiable habit among ice crystals with maximum dimension (Dmax) greater than 100 µm. Properties are therefore first derived for bullet rosettes based on measurements of arm lengths and widths, then for aggregates of bullet rosettes and for unclassified (irregular) crystals. Derived bullet rosette masses are substantially greater than reported in existing literature, whereas measured projected areas are similar or lesser, resulting in factors of 1.5–2 greater fall speeds, and, in the limit of large Dmax, near-infrared single-scattering albedo and asymmetry parameter (g) greater by  ∼  0.2 and 0.05, respectively. A model that includes commonly imaged side plane growth on bullet rosettes exhibits relatively little difference in microphysical and optical properties aside from  ∼ 0.05 increase in mid-visible g primarily attributable to plate aspect ratio. In parcel simulations, ice size distribution, and g are sensitive to assumed ice properties.

Short summary
Images of crystals within mid-latitude cirrus clouds are used to derive consistent ice physical and optical properties for a detailed cloud microphysics model, including size-dependent mass, projected area, and fall speed. Based on habits found, properties are derived for bullet rosettes, their aggregates, and crystals with irregular shapes. Derived bullet rosette fall speeds are substantially greater than reported in past studies, owing to differences in mass, area, or diameter representation.
Final-revised paper