Retrieving fall streaks within cloud systems using doppler radar

Lukas Pfitzenmaier*, Yann Dufournet, Christine M.H. Unal, Herman W.J. Russchenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


The interaction of ice crystals with supercooled liquid droplets in mixed-phase clouds leads to an enhanced growth of ice particles. However, such processes are still not clearly understood although they are important processes for precipitation formation in midlatitudes. To better understand how ice particles grow within such clouds, changes in the microphysical parameters of a particle population falling through the cloud have to be analyzed. The Transportable Atmospheric Radar (TARA) can retrieve the full 3D Doppler velocity vector based on a unique three-beam configuration. Using the derived wind information, a new fall streak retrieval technique is proposed so that microphysical changes along those streaks can be studied. The method is based on Doppler measurements only. The shown examples measured during the Analysis of the Composition of Clouds with Extended Polarization Techniques (ACCEPT) campaign demonstrate that the retrieval is able to capture the fall streaks within different cloud systems. These fall streaks can be used to study changes in a single particle population from its generation (at cloud top) until its disintegration. In this study fall streaks are analyzed using radar moments or Doppler spectra. Synergetic measurements with other instruments during ACCEPT allow the detection of liquid layers within the clouds. The estimated microphysical information is used here to get a better understanding of the influence of supercooled liquid layers on ice crystal growth. This technique offers a new perspective for cloud microphysical studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-920
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Cloud microphysics
  • Ice crystals
  • Ice loss/growth
  • Radars/Radar observations
  • Remote sensing
  • Wind profilers
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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