Mass of different snow crystal shapes derived from fall speed measurements
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Abstract. Meteorological forecast and climate models require good knowledge of the microphysical properties of hydrometeors and the atmospheric snow and ice crystals in clouds, for instance, their size, cross-sectional area, shape, mass, and fall speed. Especially shape is an important parameter in that it strongly affects the scattering properties of ice particles and consequently their response to remote sensing techniques. The fall speed and mass of ice particles are other important
... s for both numerical forecast models and the representation of snow and ice clouds in climate models. In the case of fall speed, it is responsible for the rate of removal of ice from these models. The particle mass is a key quantity that connects the cloud microphysical properties to radiative properties. Using an empirical relationship between the dimensionless Reynolds and Best numbers, fall speed and mass can be derived from each other if particle size and cross-sectional area are also known. In this study, ground-based in situ measurements of snow particle microphysical properties are used to analyse mass as a function of shape and the other properties particle size, cross-sectional area, and fall speed. The measurements for this study were done in Kiruna, Sweden, during snowfall seasons of 2014 to 2019 and using the ground-based in situ Dual Ice Crystal Imager (D-ICI) instrument, which takes high-resolution side- and top-view images of natural hydrometeors. From these images, particle size (maximum dimension), cross-sectional area, and fall speed of individual particles are determined. The particles are shape-classified according to the scheme presented in our previous study, in which particles sort into 15 different shape groups depending on their shape and morphology. Particle masses of individual ice particles are estimated from measured particle size, cross-sectional area, and fall speed. The selected dataset covers sizes from about 0.1 to 3.2 mm, fall speeds from 0.1 to 1.6 m s−1, and masses from 0.2 to 450 µg. In our previous study, the fall speed relationships between particle size and cross-sectional area were studied. In this study, the same dataset is used to determine the particle mass, and consequently, the mass relationships between particle size, cross-sectional area, and fall speed are studied for these 15 shape groups. Furthermore, the mass relationships presented in this study are compared with the previous studies. For certain crystal habits, in particular columnar shapes, the maximum dimension is unsuitable for determining Reynolds number. Using a selection of columns, for which the simple geometry allows the verification of an empirical Best-number-to-Reynolds-number relationship, we show that Reynolds number and fall speed are more closely related to the diameter of the basal facet than the maximum dimension. The agreement with the empirical relationship is further improved using a modified Best number, a function of an area ratio based on the falling particle seen in the vertical direction.