Dataset for: Mass and density of individual frozen hydrometeors and A differential emissivity imaging technique for measuring hydrometeor mass and type


The Differential Emissivity Imaging Disdrometer (DEID) is a new evaporation-based optical and thermal instrument designed to measure the mass, size, density, and type of individual hydrometeors and their bulk properties. Hydrometeor spatial dimensions are measured on a heated metal plate using an infrared camera by exploiting the much higher thermal emissivity of water compared with metal. As a melted hydrometeor evaporates, its mass can be directly related to the loss of heat from the hotplate assuming energy conservation across the hydrometeor. The heat-loss required to evaporate a hydrometeor is found to be independent of environmental conditions including ambient wind velocity, moisture level, and temperature. The difference in heat loss for snow versus rain for a given mass offers a method for discriminating precipitation phase. The DEID measures hydrometeors at sampling frequencies up to 1 Hz with masses and effective diameters greater than 1 µg and 200 µm, respectively, determined by the size of the hotplate and the thermal camera specifications. Measurable snow water equivalent (SWE) precipitation rates range from 0.001 to 200 mm h−1, as validated against a standard weighing bucket. Preliminary field-experiment measurements of snow and rain from the winters of 2019 and 2020 provided continuous automated measurements of precipitation rate, snow density, and visibility. Measured hydrometeor size distributions agree well with canonical results described in the literature.

A new precipitation sensor, the Differential Emissivity Imaging Disdrometer (DEID), is used to provide the first continuous measurements of the mass, diameter, and density of individual hydrometeors. The DEID consists of an infrared camera pointed at a heated aluminum plate. It exploits the contrasting thermal emissivity of water and metal to determine individual particle mass by assuming that energy is conserved during the transfer of heat from the plate to the particle during evaporation. Particle density is determined from a combination of particle mass and morphology. A Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera (MASC) was deployed alongside the DEID to provide refined imagery of particle size and shape. Broad consistency is found between derived mass-diameter and density-diameter relationships and those obtained in prior studies. However, DEID measurements show a generally weaker dependence with size for hydrometeor density and a stronger dependence for aggregate snowflake mass.

Last modified
  • 12/08/2023
Date created
  • Red Butte Canyon, Utah, United States
Resource type
  • Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)