Incorporating Ice Crystal Scattering Databases in the Simulation of...

Molthan, A. L., and W. Petersen (2011), Incorporating Ice Crystal Scattering Databases in the Simulation of Millimeter-Wavelength Radar Reflectivity, J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 28, 337-351, doi:10.1175/2010JTECHA1511.1.

The Canadian CloudSat/Cloud–Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations (CALIPSO) Validation Project (C3VP) was designed to acquire aircraft, surface, and satellite observations of particle size distributions during cold season precipitation events for the purposes of validating and improving upon satellite-based retrievals of precipitation and the representation of cloud and precipitation processes within numerical weather prediction schemes. During an intensive observation period on 22 January 2007, an instrumented aircraft measured ice crystal size distributions, ice and liquid water contents, and atmospheric state parameters within a broad shield of precipitation generated by a passing midlatitude cyclone. The 94-GHz CloudSat radar acquired vertical profiles of radar reflectivity within light to moderate snowfall, coincident with C3VP surface and aircraft instrumentation. Satellite-based retrievals of cold season precipitation require relationships between remotely sensed quantities, such as radar reflectivity or brightness temperature, and the ice water content present within the sampled profile.

In this study, three methods for simulating CloudSat radar reflectivity are investigated by comparing Mie spheres, single dendrites, and fractal aggregates represented within scattering databases or parameterizations. It is demonstrated that calculations of radar backscatter from nonspherical crystal shapes are required to represent the vertical trend in CloudSat radar reflectivity for this particular event, as Mie resonance effects reduce the radar backscatter from precipitation-sized particles larger than 1 mm. Remaining differences between reflectivity from nonspherical shapes and observations are attributed to uncertainty in the mass– diameter relationships for observed crystals and disparities between naturally occurring crystals and shapes assumed in the development of ice crystal scattering databases and parameterizations.

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