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Ice crystals growing from vapor in supercooled clouds between −2.5° and −22°C: testing current parameterization methods using laboratory data

Westbrook, C. D. ORCID: and Heymsfield, A. J. (2011) Ice crystals growing from vapor in supercooled clouds between −2.5° and −22°C: testing current parameterization methods using laboratory data. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 68 (10). pp. 2416-2429. ISSN 1520-0469

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JAS-D-11-017.1


The physical and empirical relationships used by microphysics schemes to control the rate at which vapor is transferred to ice crystals growing in supercooled clouds are compared with laboratory data to evaluate the realism of various model formulations. Ice crystal growth rates predicted from capacitance theory are compared with measurements from three independent laboratory studies. When the growth is diffusion- limited, the predicted growth rates are consistent with the measured values to within about 20% in 14 of the experiments analyzed, over the temperature range −2.5° to −22°C. Only two experiments showed significant disagreement with theory (growth rate overestimated by about 30%–40% at −3.7° and −10.6°C). Growth predictions using various ventilation factor parameterizations were also calculated and compared with supercooled wind tunnel data. It was found that neither of the standard parameterizations used for ventilation adequately described both needle and dendrite growth; however, by choosing habit-specific ventilation factors from previous numerical work it was possible to match the experimental data in both regimes. The relationships between crystal mass, capacitance, and fall velocity were investigated based on the laboratory data. It was found that for a given crystal size the capacitance was significantly overestimated by two of the microphysics schemes considered here, yet for a given crystal mass the growth rate was underestimated by those same schemes because of unrealistic mass/size assumptions. The fall speed for a given capacitance (controlling the residence time of a crystal in the supercooled layer relative to its effectiveness as a vapor sink, and the relative importance of ventilation effects) was found to be overpredicted by all the schemes in which fallout is permitted, implying that the modeled crystals reside for too short a time within the cloud layer and that the parameterized ventilation effect is too strong.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:24246
Uncontrolled Keywords:Snow, Stratiform clouds, Cloud parameterizations, Cloud resolving models, Clouds
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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