An air parcel model including homogeneous freezing nucleation of ice crystals has been used to study the formation and development of cirrus clouds. In situ measurements taken during March 1994 over southern Germany were used for comparison with model predictions. Typical experimental data were chosen for a base-case model run. Using measured aerosol properties as input values, the model predicts the measured ice crystal size distribution. In particular, both measurements and model results show the presence of numerous small ice crystals (diameter between 1 and 20 μ m). Both measurements and model results also show that small aerosol particles (below 0.1 μ m diameter) are active in forming cirrus cloud particles. The modeled microphysical properties including ice crystal size distribution, number concentration, and the residual particle size distribution are in good agreement with the experimental data. Based on the measured parameter values, a model sensitivity study considering air parcel updraft velocity, initial temperature, relative humidity, aerosol size distribution, number concentration, and air parcel vertical displacement is presented.
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences – American Meteorological Society
Published: Mar 22, 1996