Influence of Humidified Aerosol on Lidar Depolarization Measurements below...

van Diedenhoven, B., A. M. Fridlind, and A. S. Ackerman (2011), Influence of Humidified Aerosol on Lidar Depolarization Measurements below Ice-Precipitating Arctic Stratus, J. Appl. Meteor. Climat., 50, 2184-2192, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-11-037.1.

Lidar measurements obtained during the Surface Heat Budget of the Arctic Ocean (SHEBA) experiment under a mixed-phase stratus cloud that was lightly precipitating ice show a range of surprisingly low depolarization ratios (4%–23%), despite an absence of cloud droplets there. These depolarization ratios are much lower than the range of theoretical values obtained for various ice habits. The depolarization ratios correlate well with radar reflectivity, suggesting that the variation in depolarization ratios results from variations in ice water content, rather than variation in ice habits or orientation. By calculating lidar depolarization based on (i) large-eddy simulations and (ii) in situ ice size distribution measurements, it is shown that the presence of humidified aerosol particles in addition to the ice precipitation can explain the distribution and vertical profile of the observed depolarization ratios, although uncertainties related to the aerosol size distributions are substantial. These calculations show that humidified aerosol must be taken into account when interpreting lidar depolarization measurements for cloud and precipitation phase discrimination or ice habit classification, at least under conditions similar to those observed during SHEBA.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)