Articles | Volume 16, issue 5
31 May 1998
31 May 1998

Preliminary laboratory studies of the optical scattering properties of the crystal clouds

C. Saunders, J. Rimmer, P. Jonas, J. Arathoon, and C. Liu

Abstract. Ice crystal clouds have an influence on the radiative budget of the earth; however, the exact size and nature of this influence has yet to be determined. A laboratory cloud chamber experiment has been set up to provide data on the optical scattering behaviour of ice crystals at a visible wavelength in order to gain information which can be used in climate models concerning the radiative characteristics of cirrus clouds. A PMS grey-scale probe is used to monitor simultaneously the cloud microphysical properties in order to correlate these closely with the observed radiative properties. Preliminary results show that ice crystals scatter considerably more at 90° than do water droplets, and that the halo effects are visible in a laboratory-generated cloud when the ice crystal concentration is sufficiently small to prevent masking from multiple scattering.

Key words. Meteorology and atmosphere dynamics · Climatology · Radiative process · Atmospheric composition and structure · Cloud physics and chemistry