The role of ice particle shapes and size distributions in the single scattering properties of cirrus clouds

Andreas Macke, Peter N. Francis, Greg M. Mcfarquhar, Stefan Kinne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The roles of ice particle size distributions (SDs) and particle shapes in cirrus cloud solar radiative transfer are investigated by analyzing SDs obtained from optical array probe measurements (particle sizes larger than 20-40 μm) during intensive field observations of the International Cirrus Experiment, the European Cloud and Radiation Experiment, the First ISCCP Regional Experiment, and the Central Equatorial Pacific Experiment. It is found that the cloud volume extinction coefficient is more strongly correlated with the total number density than with the effective particle size. Distribution-averaged mean single scattering properties are calculated for hexagonal columns, hexagonal plates, and polycrystals at a nonabsorbing (0.5 μm), moderately absorbing (1.6 μm), and strongly absorbing (3.0 μm) wavelength. At 0.5 μm (1.6 μm) (3.0 μm), the spread in the resulting mean asymmetry parameters due to different SDs is smaller than (comparable to) (smaller than) the difference caused by applying different particle shapes to these distributions. From a broadband solar radiative transfer point of view it appears more important to use the correct particle shapes than to average over the correct size distributions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2874-2883
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume55
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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