MATLAB code for "Arctic observations and numerical simulations of surface wind effects on Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera measurements"


Ground-based measurements of frozen precipitation are heavily influenced by interactions of surface winds with gauge-shield geometry. The Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera (MASC), which photographs hydrometeors in free-fall from three different angles while simultaneously measuring their fall speed, has been used in the field at multiple mid-latitude and polar locations both with and without wind shielding. Here we present an analysis of Arctic field observations — with and without a Belfort double Alter shield — and compare the results to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of the airflow and corresponding particle trajectories around the unshielded MASC. MASC-measured fall speeds compare well with Ka-band Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Zenith Radar (KAZR) mean Doppler velocities only when winds are light (< 5 m/s) and the MASC is shielded. MASC-measured fall speeds that do not match KAZR measured velocities tend to fall below a threshold value that increases approximately linearly with wind speed but is generally < 0.5 m/s. For those events with wind speeds < 1.5 m/s, hydrometeors fall with an orientation angle mode of 12 degrees from the horizontal plane, and large, low-density aggregates are as much as five times more likely to be observed. Simulations in the absence of a wind shield show a separation of flow at the upstream side of the instrument, with an upward velocity component just above the aperture, which decreases the mean particle fall speed by 55% (74%) for a wind speed of 5 m/s (10 m/s). We conclude that accurate MASC observations of the microphysical, orientation, and fall speed characteristics of snow particles require shielding by a double wind fence and restriction of analysis to events where winds are light (< 5 m/s). Hydrometeors do not generally fall in still air, so adjustments to these properties' distributions within natural turbulence remain to be determined.

Last modified
  • 12/14/2020
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