Atmospheric Ice Particle Shape Estimates from Polarimetric Radar Measurements and In Situ Observations
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Atmospheric Ice Particle Shape Estimates from Polarimetric Radar Measurements and In Situ Observations

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    Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 34(12), 2569-2587
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    A remote sensing approach to retrieve the degree of nonsphericity of ice hydrometeors using scanning polarimetric Ka-band radar measurements from a U.S. Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program cloud radar operated in an alternate transmission–simultaneous reception mode is introduced. Nonsphericity is characterized by aspect ratios representing the ratios of particle minor-to-major dimensions. The approach is based on the use of a circular depolarization ratio (CDR) proxy reconstructed from differential reflectivity ZDR and copolar correlation coefficient ρhυ linear polarization measurements. Essentially combining information contained in ZDR and ρhυ, CDR-based retrievals of aspect ratios are fairly insensitive to hydrometeor orientation if measurements are performed at elevation angles of around 40°–50°. The suggested approach is applied to data collected using the third ARM Mobile Facility (AMF3), deployed to Oliktok Point, Alaska. Aspect ratio retrievals were also performed using ZDR measurements that are more strongly (compared to CDR) influenced by hydrometeor orientation. The results of radar-based retrievals are compared with in situ measurements from the tethered balloon system (TBS)-based video ice particle sampler and the ground-based multiangle snowflake camera. The observed ice hydrometeors were predominantly irregular-shaped ice crystals and aggregates, with aspect ratios varying between approximately 0.3 and 0.8. The retrievals assume that particle bulk density influencing (besides the particle shape) observed polarimetric variables can be deduced from the estimates of particle characteristic size. Uncertainties of CDR-based aspect ratio retrievals are estimated at about 0.1–0.15. Given these uncertainties, radar-based retrievals generally agreed with in situ measurements. The advantages of using the CDR proxy compared to the linear depolarization ratio are discussed.
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