Ice Particle Size Distributions From Composites of Microphysics Observations Collected in Tropical Cyclones

Hua Leighton, Robert Black, Xuejin Zhang, Frank D. Marks, Sundararaman G. Gopalakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ice microphysics observations collected from eight flights into tropical cyclones (TCs) were analyzed to examine the performance of exponential versus gamma functions in representing the particle size distributions (PSDs) for cloud ice, snow, and graupel. Eighty-four percent (87%) of cloud ice (snow) PSDs are above the correlation threshold of 0.9 between observations and the corresponding fitted curves by gamma fits, while only 43% (55%) of cloud ice (snow) PSDs by exponential fits. Sixteen percent of graupel PSDs are above the threshold by gamma fits but none by exponential fits. The intercept, slope, and shape in gamma functions are mutually dependent. When one among the three parameters is prescribed, the other two can be empirically rendered from the mutual-dependence relationship. Counterintuitively, temperature does not play a conspicuous role in controlling ice PSDs in the TC environment but horizontal winds do, especially for snow, through the breakup process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020GL088762
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2020

Keywords

  • exponential function
  • gamma function
  • ice particle size distribution
  • microphysics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Ice Particle Size Distributions From Composites of Microphysics Observations Collected in Tropical Cyclones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this