Radar scattering from ice aggregates using the horizontally aligned oblate spheroid approximation

AMS Citation:
Hogan, R. J., L. Tian, P. R. A. Brown, A. J. Heymsfield, and J. D. Eastment, 2012: Radar scattering from ice aggregates using the horizontally aligned oblate spheroid approximation. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 51, 655-671, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-11-074.1.
Date:2012-03-01
Resource Type:article
Title:Radar scattering from ice aggregates using the horizontally aligned oblate spheroid approximation
Abstract: The assumed relationship between ice particle mass and size is profoundly important in radar retrievals of ice clouds, but, for millimeter-wave radars, shape and preferred orientation are important as well. In this paper the authors first examine the consequences of the fact that the widely used "Brown and Francis" mass--size relationship has often been applied to maximum particle dimension observed by aircraft Dmax rather than to the mean of the particle dimensions in two orthogonal directions Dmean, which was originally used by Brown and Francis. Analysis of particle images reveals that Dmax ≃ 1.25Dmean, and therefore, for clouds for which this mass--size relationship holds, the consequences are overestimates of ice water content by around 53% and of Rayleigh-scattering radar reflectivity factor by 3.7 dB. Simultaneous radar and aircraft measurements demonstrate that much better agreement in reflectivity factor is provided by using this mass--size relationship with Dmean. The authors then examine the importance of particle shape and fall orientation for millimeter-wave radars. Simultaneous radar measurements and aircraft calculations of differential reflectivity and dual-wavelength ratio are presented to demonstrate that ice particles may usually be treated as horizontally aligned oblate spheroids with an axial ratio of 0.6, consistent with them being aggregates. An accurate formula is presented for the backscatter cross section apparent to a vertically pointing millimeter-wave radar on the basis of a modified version of Rayleigh--Gans theory. It is then shown that the consequence of treating ice particles as Mie-scattering spheres is to substantially underestimate millimeter-wave reflectivity factor when millimeter-sized particles are present, which can lead to retrieved ice water content being overestimated by a factor of 4.
Subject(s):Ice particles, Cloud retrieval, Radars/Radar observations, Aircraft observations
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2012 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables, and brief excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that the source is acknowledged. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be "fair use" under Section 107 or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 USC, as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the Society's permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form on servers, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statements, requires written permission or license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policies, available from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or amspubs@ametsoc.org. Permission to place a copy of this work on this server has been provided by the AMS. The AMS does not guarantee that the copy provided here is an accurate copy of the published work.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d73j3dn6
Publisher's Version: 10.1175/JAMC-D-11-074.1
Author(s):
  • Robin Hogan
  • Lin Tian
  • Philip Brown
  • Andrew Heymsfield - NCAR/UCAR
  • Jon. Eastment
  • Random Profile

    SOFT ENG/PROG III

    Recent & Upcoming Visitors