Cloud microphysical measurements at a mountain observatory: comparison between shadowgraph imaging and phase Doppler interferometry


Mohammadi M., Nowak J.L., Bertens G., Molacek J., Kumala W. and Malinowski S.P.


The microphysical properties of cloud droplets, such as droplet size distribution and droplet number concentration, were studied. A series of field experiments was performed in the summer of 2019 at the Umweltforschungsstation Schneefernerhaus (UFS), an environmental research station located just below the peak of the Zugspitze mountain in the German Alps. A VisiSize D30 manufactured by Oxford Laser Ltd., which is a shadowgraph imaging instrument, was utilized for the first time to measure the size and velocity of cloud droplets during this campaign. Furthermore, a phase Doppler interferometer (PDI) device, manufactured by Artium Tech. Inc., was simultaneously measuring cloud droplets. After applying modifications to the built-in soft-ware algorithms, the results from the two instruments show reasonable agreement regarding droplet sizing and velocimetry for droplet diameters larger than 13 μm. Moreover, discrepancies were observed concerning the droplet number concentration results, especially with smaller droplet sizes. Further investigation by applying appropriate filters to the data allowed the attribution of the discrepancies to two phenomena: the different optical performance of the sensors with regard to small droplets and high turbulent velocity fluctua-tions relative to the mean flow that result in an uncertain estimate of the volume of air passing through the PDI probe volume.

Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 2022, vol. 15, pp. 965-985, doi: 10.5194/amt-15-965-2022

Originally published on - Feb. 25, 2022, 11:57 a.m.
Last update on - March 28, 2022, 11:27 a.m.
Publisher - Sekretariat IGF