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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2014, Article ID 206352, 12 pages
Research Article

Aircraft Observations of Ice Particle Properties in Stratiform Precipitating Clouds

1Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics and Severe Storms, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
2Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China

Received 10 July 2013; Revised 16 February 2014; Accepted 28 February 2014; Published 14 April 2014

Academic Editor: Harry D. Kambezidis

Copyright © 2014 Tuanjie Hou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study presented airborne measurements of ice particle properties in three stratiform precipitating clouds over northern China. By using horizontal observations at selected altitudes, the distributions of ice water content (IWC), particle habits, and particle size spectrum parameters were investigated. The cloud cases were characterized by high IWC values due to the existence of embedded convective cells. Liquid water contents were rather low with the maxima of less than 0.3 g m−3 and the general values of less than 0.1 g m−3. The occurrence of large dendritic crystals as well as rimed capped columns and branched crystals indicated that ice seeding from the above cloud layer (6 km altitude or above) contributed significantly to both high ice crystal number concentrations and IWCs. Horizontal observations at selected levels suggested the general decreasing trend of IWC with decreasing temperature only in part of the cloud layers but not throughout the cold layer of the multilayered stratiform clouds. Both exponential and gamma functions were used to characterize the particle size spectrum parameters. The slope parameter values of exponential distributions were primarily in the range of 103–104 m−1. In comparison, slope values of the gamma distribution fits spanned more and a relationship was found between the dispersion and slope values.