Relationship of Multiwavelength Radar Measurements to Ice Microphysics from the IMPACTS Field Program Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract; Coincident radar data with Doppler radar measurements at X, Ku, Ka, and W bands on the NASA ER-2 aircraft overflying the NASA P-3 aircraft acquiring in situ microphysical measurements are used to characterize the relationship between radar measurements and ice microphysical properties. The data were obtained from the Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS). Direct measurements of the condensed water content and coincident Doppler radar measurements were acquired, facilitating improved estimates of ice particle mass, a variable that is an underlying factor for calculating and therefore retrieving the radar reflectivity Ze, median mass diameter Dm, particle terminal velocity, and snowfall rate S. The relationship between the measured ice water content (IWC) and that calculated from the particle size distributions (PSDs) using relationships developed in earlier studies, and between the calculated and measured radar reflectivity at the four radar wavelengths, are quantified. Relationships are derived between the measured IWC and properties of the PSD, Dm, Ze at the four radar wavelengths, and the dual-wavelength ratio. Because IWC and Ze are measured directly, the coefficients in the mass–dimensional relationship that best match both the IWC and Ze are derived. The relationships developed here, and the mass–dimensional relationship that uses both the measured IWC and Ze to find a best match for both variables, can be used in studies that characterize the properties of wintertime snow clouds.; ; Significance Statement; The goal of this study is to provide reliable microphysical measurements and algorithms to facilitate improvements in cloud model microphysical parameterizations and in retrieval of snow precipitation properties from spaceborne active remote sensors and to characterize ice and snow precipitation development within clouds. This work draws upon a unique set of in situ measurements of the ice and total water content coupled with overflying aircraft radar measurements at four radar wavelengths. Better estimates of the contributions of the ice phase to the total global precipitation using spaceborne radar data pave the way for assessing and advancing global climate modeling, thereby strengthening predictions of global climate change.

publication date

  • March 1, 2023

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • February 1, 2023 2:13 AM

Full Author List

  • Heymsfield A; Bansemer A; Heymsfield G; Noone D; Grecu M; Toohey D

author count

  • 6

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1558-8424

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-8432

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 289

end page

  • 315


  • 62


  • 3