A global view of atmospheric ice particle complexity

AMS Citation:
Schmitt, C. G., A. J. Heymsfield, P. Connolly, E. Järvinen, and M. Schnaiter, 2016: A global view of atmospheric ice particle complexity. Geophysical Research Letters, 43, 11913-11920, doi:10.1002/2016GL071267.
Resource Type:article
Title:A global view of atmospheric ice particle complexity
Abstract: Atmospheric ice particles exist in a variety of shapes and sizes. Single hexagonal crystals like common hexagonal plates and columns are possible, but more frequently, atmospheric ice particles are much more complex. Ice particle shapes have a substantial impact on many atmospheric processes through fall speed, affecting cloud lifetime, to radiative properties, affecting energy balance to name a few. This publication builds on earlier work where a technique was demonstrated to separate single crystals and aggregates of crystals using particle imagery data from aircraft field campaigns. Here data from 10 field programs have been analyzed and ice particle complexity parameterized by cloud temperature for arctic, midlatitude (summer and frontal), and tropical cloud systems. Results show that the transition from simple to complex particles can be as small as 80 mu m or as large as 400 mu m depending on conditions. All regimes show trends of decreasing transition size with decreasing temperature.
Peer Review:Refereed
Copyright Information:Copyright 2016 American Geophysical Union.
OpenSky citable URL: ark:/85065/d7hh6mvw
Publisher's Version: 10.1002/2016GL071267
  • Carl G. Schmitt - NCAR/UCAR
  • Andrew J. Heymsfield - NCAR/UCAR
  • Paul Connolly
  • Emma Järvinen
  • Martin Schnaiter
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