Observed Influence of Riming, Temperature, and Turbulence on the Fallspeed of Solid Precipitation

Monday, 15 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Sandra E Yuter, North Carolina State Univ, Raleigh, NC, United States and Timothy J Garrett, Univ Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States
Forecasts of the amount and geographic distribution of snow are highly sensitive to a model's parameterization of hydrometeor fallspeed. Riming is generally thought to lead to larger, heavier particles with higher terminal velocities. Yet models commonly assume that heavily rimed particles such as graupel have a fixed density and that their settling speed is unaffected by turbulence in storms. Here we show automated measurements of photographed hydrometeor shape and fallspeed using a Multi Angle Snowflake Camera placed in Utah's Wasatch Mountain Range. The data show that graupel in low turbulence conditions has a size-dependent fallspeed distribution with a mode near 1 m/s, a result that is generally consistent with prior observations. However, the distributions are broadened by turbulence and a correspondence between particle density and air temperature. In high turbulence and at low temperatures, any sensitivity of fallspeed to particle size disappears.