A new airborne Polar Nephelometer for the measurement of optical and microphysical cloud properties. Part II: Preliminary tests
Abstract. A new optical sensor, the airborne Polar Nephelometer, has been tested in an open wind tunnel. The wind tunnel was operated in cloudy conditions including either cloud water droplets or ice crystals, or a mixture of these particles. The sensor is designed to measure the optical and microphysical parameters of cloud particles sized from a few micrometers to about 500 µm diameter. Basically, the probe measures the scattering phase function of an ensemble of cloud particles which intersect a collimated laser beam near the focal point of a paraboloidal mirror. From the measured scattering phase function the retrieval of the droplet-size spectra and subsequent derived quantities such as liquid water content and size parameters can be calculated using an inversion method. The particle phase discrimination (water droplets/ice particles) can be derived from the shape of the scattering phase function and the sensitivity of the probe allows the detection of small ice crystals (typically of 5 µm diameter). The paper describes the preliminary results obtained by the prototype version of the Polar Nephelometer in various cloudy conditions. These results are compared with direct microphysical measurements obtained by usual PMS probes also mounted in the wind tunnel. Complementary results obtained in a cold chamber are presented in order to illustrate the reliability of the Polar Nephelometer in the presence of small ice crystals.