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  1. Abstract

    High-resolution airborne cloud Doppler radars such as the W-band Wyoming Cloud Radar (WCR) have, since the 1990s, investigated cloud microphysical, kinematic, and precipitation structures down to 30-m resolution. These measurements revolutionized our understanding of fine-scale cloud structure and the scales at which cloud processes occur. Airborne cloud Doppler radars may also resolve cloud turbulent eddy structure directly at 10-m scales. To date, cloud turbulence has been examined as variances and dissipation rates at coarser resolution than individual pulse volumes. The present work advances the potential of near-vertical pulse-pair Doppler spectrum width as a metric for turbulent air motion. Doppler spectrum width has long been used to investigate turbulent motions from ground-based remote sensors. However, complexities of airborne Doppler radar and spectral broadening resulting from platform and hydrometeor motions have limited airborne radar spectrum width measurements to qualitative interpretation only. Here we present the first quantitative validation of spectrum width from an airborne cloud radar. Echoes with signal-to-noise ratio greater than 10 dB yield spectrum width values that strongly correlate with retrieved mean Doppler variance for a range of nonconvective cloud conditions. Further, Doppler spectrum width within turbulent regions of cloud also shows good agreement with in situ eddy dissipation rate (EDR) and gust probe variance. However, the use of pulse-pair estimated spectrum width as a metric for turbulent air motion intensity is only suitable for turbulent air motions more energetic than the magnitude of spectral broadening, estimated to be <0.4 m s−1for the WCR in these cases.

    Significance Statement

    Doppler spectrum width is a widely available airborne radar measurement previously considered too uncertain to attribute to atmospheric turbulence. We validate, for the first time, the response of spectrum width to turbulence at and away from research aircraft flight level and demonstrate that under certain conditions, spectrum width can be used to diagnose atmospheric turbulence down to scales of tens of meters. These high-resolution turbulent air motion intensity measurements may better connect to cloud hydrometeor process and growth response seen in coincident radar reflectivity structures proximate to turbulent eddies.

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  2. Abstract During near-0°C surface conditions, diverse precipitation types (p-types) are possible, including rain, drizzle, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, ice pellets, wet snow, snow, and snow pellets. Near-0°C precipitation affects wide swaths of the United States and Canada, impacting aviation, road transportation, power generation and distribution, winter recreation, ecology, and hydrology. Fundamental challenges remain in observing, diagnosing, simulating, and forecasting near-0°C p-types, particularly during transitions and within complex terrain. Motivated by these challenges, the field phase of the Winter Precipitation Type Research Multi-scale Experiment (WINTRE-MIX) was conducted from 1 February – 15 March 2022 to better understand how multiscale processes influence the variability and predictability of p-type and amount under near-0°C surface conditions. WINTRE-MIX took place near the US / Canadian border, in northern New York and southern Quebec, a region with plentiful near-0°C precipitation influenced by terrain. During WINTRE-MIX, existing advanced mesonets in New York and Quebec were complemented by deployment of: (1) surface instruments, (2) the National Research Council Convair-580 research aircraft with W- and X-band Doppler radars and in situ cloud and aerosol instrumentation, (3) two X-band dual-polarization Doppler radars and a C-band dual-polarization Doppler radar from University of Illinois, and (4) teams collecting manual hydrometeor observations and radiosonde measurements. Eleven intensive observing periods (IOPs) were coordinated. Analysis of these WINTRE-MIX IOPs is illuminating how synoptic dynamics, mesoscale dynamics, and microscale processes combine to determine p-type and its predictability under near-0°C conditions. WINTRE-MIX research will contribute to improving nowcasts and forecasts of near-0°C precipitation through evaluation and refinement of observational diagnostics and numerical forecast models. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024
  3. Abstract Properties of frozen hydrometeors in clouds remain difficult to sense remotely. Estimates of number concentration, distribution shape, ice particle density, and ice water content are essential for connecting cloud processes to surface precipitation. Progress has been made with dual-frequency radars, but validation has been difficult because of lack of particle imaging and sizing observations collocated with the radar measurements. Here, data are used from two airborne profiling (up and down) radars, the W-band Wyoming Cloud Radar and the Ka-band Profiling Radar, allowing for Ka–W-band dual-wavelength ratio (DWR) profiles. The aircraft (the University of Wyoming King Air) also carried a suite of in situ cloud and precipitation probes. This arrangement is optimal for relating the “flight-level” DWR (an average from radar gates below and above flight level) to ice particle size distributions measured by in situ optical array probes, as well as bulk properties such as minimum snow particle density and ice water content. This comparison reveals a strong relationship between DWR and the ice particle median-volume diameter. An optimal range of DWR values ensures the highest retrieval confidence, bounded by the radars’ relative calibration and DWR saturation, found here to be about 2.5–7.5 dB. The DWR-defined size distribution shape is used with a Mie scattering model and an experimental mass–diameter relationship to test retrievals of ice particle concentration and ice water content. Comparison with flight-level cloud-probe data indicate good performance, allowing microphysical interpretations for the rest of the vertical radar transects. 
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  4. Abstract Kelvin-Helmholtz (KH) waves are a frequent source of turbulence in stratiform precipitation systems over mountainous terrain. KH waves introduce large eddies into otherwise laminar flow, with updrafts and downdrafts generating small-scale turbulence. When they occur in-cloud, such dynamics influence microphysical processes that impact precipitation growth and fallout. Part I of this paper used dual-Doppler, 2D wind and reflectivity measurements from an airborne cloud radar to demonstrate the occurrence of KH waves in stratiform orographic precipitation systems and identified four mechanisms for triggering KH waves. In Part II, we use similar observations to explore the effects of KH wave updrafts and turbulence on cloud microphysics. Measurements within KH wave updrafts reveal the production of liquid water in otherwise ice-dominated clouds, which can contribute to snow generation or enhancement via depositional and accretional growth. Fallstreaks beneath KH waves contain higher ice water content, composed of larger and more numerous ice particles, suggesting that KH waves and associated turbulence may also increase ice nucleation. A Large-Eddy Simulation (LES), designed to model the microphysical response to the KH wave eddies in mixed phase cloud, shows that depositional and accretional growth can be enhanced in KH waves, resulting in more precipitation when compared to a baseline simulation. While sublimation and evaporation occur in KH downdrafts, persistent supersaturation with respect to ice allows for net increase in ice mass. These modeling results and observations suggest that KH waves embedded in mixed-phase stratiform clouds may increase precipitation, although the quantitative impact remains uncertain. 
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  5. Abstract

    This paper examines the controls on supercooled liquid water content (SLWC) and drop number concentrations (Nt,CDP) over the Payette River basin during the Seeded and Natural Orographic Wintertime Clouds: The Idaho Experiment (SNOWIE) campaign. During SNOWIE, 27.4% of 1-Hz in situ cloud droplet probe samples were in an environment containing supercooled liquid water (SLW). The interquartile range of SLWC, when present, was found to be 0.02–0.18 g m−3and 13.3–37.2 cm−3forNt,CDP, with the most extreme values reaching 0.40–1.75 g m−3and 150–320 cm−3in isolated regions of convection and strong shear-induced turbulence. SLWC andNt,CDPdistributions are shown to be directly related to cloud-top temperature and ice particle concentrations, consistent with past research over other mountain ranges. Two classes of vertical motions were analyzed as potential controls on SLWC andNt,CDP, the first forced by the orography and fixed in space relative to the topography (stationary waves) and the second transient, triggered by vertical shear and instability within passing synoptic-scale cyclones. SLWC occurrence and magnitudes, andNt,CDPassociated with fixed updrafts were found to be normally distributed about ridgelines when SLW was present. SLW was more likely to form at low altitudes near the terrain slope associated with fixed waves due to higher mixing ratios and larger vertical air parcel displacements at low altitudes. When considering transient updrafts, SLWC andNt,CDPappear more uniformly distributed over the flight track with little discernable terrain dependence as a result of time and spatially varying updrafts associated with passing weather systems. The implications for cloud seeding over the basin are discussed.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The spatial distribution and magnitude of snowfall resulting from cloud seeding with silver iodide (AgI) is closely linked to atmospheric conditions, seeding operations, and dynamical, thermodynamical, and microphysical processes. Here, microphysical processes leading to ice and snow production are analyzed in orographic clouds for three cloud-seeding events, each with light or no natural precipitation and well-defined, traceable seeding lines. Airborne and ground-based radar observations are linked to in situ cloud and precipitation measurements to determine the spatiotemporal evolution of ice initiation, particle growth, and snow fallout in seeded clouds. These processes and surface snow amounts are explored as particle plumes evolve from varying amounts of AgI released, and within changing environmental conditions, including changes in liquid water content (LWC) along and downwind of the seeding track, wind speed, and shear. More AgI did not necessarily produce more liquid equivalent snowfall (LESnow). The greatest amount of LESnow, largest area covered by snowfall, and highest peak snowfall produced through seeding occurred on the day with the largest and most widespread occurrence of supercooled drizzle, highest wind shear, and greater LWC along and downwind of the seeding track. The day with the least supercooled drizzle and the lowest LWC downwind of the seeding track produced the smallest amount of LESnow through seeding. The stronger the wind was, the farther away the snowfall occurred from the seeding track. 
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  7. Climate change and population growth have increased demand for water in arid regions. For over half a century, cloud seeding has been evaluated as a technology to increase water supply; statistical approaches have compared seeded to nonseeded events through precipitation gauge analyses. Here, a physically based approach to quantify snowfall from cloud seeding in mountain cloud systems is presented. Areas of precipitation unambiguously attributed to cloud seeding are isolated from natural precipitation (<1 mm h−1). Spatial and temporal evolution of precipitation generated by cloud seeding is then quantified using radar observations and snow gauge measurements. This study uses the approach of combining radar technology and precipitation gauge measurements to quantify the spatial and temporal evolution of snowfall generated from glaciogenic cloud seeding of winter mountain cloud systems and its spatial and temporal evolution. The results represent a critical step toward quantifying cloud seeding impact. For the cases presented, precipitation gauges measured increases between 0.05 and 0.3 mm as precipitation generated by cloud seeding passed over the instruments. The total amount of water generated by cloud seeding ranged from 1.2 × 105m3(100 ac ft) for 20 min of cloud seeding, 2.4 × 105m3(196 ac ft) for 86 min of seeding to 3.4 x 105m3(275 ac ft) for 24 min of cloud seeding.

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