A Comparison between Airborne and Mountaintop Cloud Microphysics

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Robert David1, Douglas H Lowenthal1, Anna Gannet Hallar1,2, Ian McCubbin1,2, Linnea M Avallone3, Gerald G Mace4 and Zhien Wang5, (1)Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV, United States, (2)DRI / Storm Peak Laboratory, Steamboat Springs, CO, United States, (3)National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA, United States, (4)Univ Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States, (5)University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States
Complex terrain has a large impact on cloud dynamics and microphysics. Several studies have examined the microphysical details of orographically-enhanced clouds from either an aircraft or from a mountain top location. However, further research is needed to characterize the relationships between mountain top and airborne microphysical properties. During the winter of 2011, an airborne study, the Colorado Airborne Mixed-Phase Cloud Study (CAMPS), and a ground-based field campaign, the Storm Peak Lab (SPL) Cloud Property Validation Experiment (StormVEx) were conducted in the Park Range of the Colorado Rockies. The CAMPS study utilized the University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) to provide airborne cloud microphysical and meteorological data on 29 flights totaling 98 flight hours over the Park Range from December 15, 2010 to February 28, 2011. The UWKA was equipped with instruments that measured both cloud droplet and ice crystal size distributions, liquid water content, total water content (vapor, liquid, and ice), and 3-dimensional wind speed and direction. The Wyoming Cloud Radar and Lidar were also deployed during the campaign. These measurements are used to characterize cloud structure upwind and above the Park Range. StormVEx measured cloud droplet, ice crystal, and aerosol size distributions at SPL, located on the west summit of Mt. Werner at 3220m MSL. The observations from SPL are used to determine mountain top cloud microphysical properties at elevations lower than the UWKA was able to sample in-situ. Comparisons showed that cloud microphysics aloft and at the surface were consistent with respect to snow growth processes while small crystal concentrations were routinely higher at the surface, suggesting ice nucleation near cloud base. The effects of aerosol concentrations and upwind stability on mountain top and downwind microphysics are considered.