Supercooled liquid water and secondary ice production in Kelvin-Helmholtz instability as revealed by radar Doppler spectra observations.

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Date: Sept. 13, 2021
From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 17)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 295 words

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Abstract :

Mixed-phase clouds are globally omnipresent and play a major role in the Earth's radiation budget and precipitation formation. The existence of liquid droplets in the presence of ice particles is microphysically unstable and depends on a delicate balance of several competing processes. Understanding mechanisms that govern ice initiation and moisture supply are important to understand the life cycle of such clouds. This study presents observations that reveal the onset of drizzle inside a â¼ 600 m deep mixed-phase layer embedded in a stratiform precipitation system. Using Doppler spectral analysis, we show how large supercooled liquid droplets are generated in Kelvin-Helmholtz (K-H) instability despite ice particles falling from upper cloud layers. The spectral width of the supercooled liquid water mode in the radar Doppler spectrum is used to identify a region of increased turbulence. The observations show that large liquid droplets, characterized by reflectivity values larger than -20 dBZ, are generated in this region. In addition to cloud droplets, Doppler spectral analysis reveals the production of columnar ice crystals in the K-H billows. The modeling study estimates that the concentration of these ice crystals is 3-8 L.sup.-1, which is at least 1 order of magnitude higher than that of primary ice-nucleating particles. Given the detail of the observations, we show that multiple populations of secondary ice particles are generated in regions where larger cloud droplets are produced and not at some constant level within the cloud. It is, therefore, hypothesized that K-H instability provides conditions favorable for enhanced droplet growth and formation of secondary ice particles.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A675240589