Microphysical Properties of Generating Cells Over the Southern Ocean: Results From SOCRATES

Yang Wang, Greg M. McFarquhar, Robert M. Rauber, Chuanfeng Zhao, Wei Wu, Joseph A. Finlon, Daniel M. Stechman, Jeffery Stith, Jorgen B. Jensen, Martin Schnaiter, Emma Järvinen, Fritz Waitz, Jothiram Vivekanandan, Michael Dixon, Bryan Rainwater, Darin W. Toohey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bulk microphysical properties and number distribution functions (N(D)) of supercooled liquid water (SLW) and ice inside and between ubiquitous generating cells (GCs) observed over the Southern Ocean (SO) during the Southern Ocean Clouds Radiation Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES) measured by in situ cloud probes onboard the NCAR/NSF G-V aircraft are compared. SLW was detected inside all GCs with an average liquid water content of 0.31 ± 0.19 g m−3, 11% larger than values between GCs. The N(D) of droplets (maximum dimension D < 50 μm) inside and between GCs had only slight differences. For ice particles, on the other hand, the mean concentration (median mass diameter) with D > 200 μm inside GCs was 2.0 ± 3.3 L−1 (323 ± 263 μm), 65% (37%) larger than values outside GCs. As D increases, the percentage differences became larger (up to ~500%). The more and larger ice particles inside GCs suggest the GC updrafts provide a favorable environment for particle growth by deposition and riming and that mixing processes are less efficient at redistributing larger particles. The horizontal scale of observed GCs ranged from 200 to 600 m with a mean of 395 ± 162 m, smaller than GC widths observed in previous studies. This study expands knowledge of the microphysical properties and processes acting in GCs over a wider range of conditions than previously available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019JD032237
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 16 2020


  • Southern Ocean
  • generating cells
  • microphysical properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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