Ice particle inter-arrival times measured with a fast FSSP

P.R. Field, R. Wood, P.R.A. Brown, Paul H. Kaye, Edwin Hirst, Richard Greenaway, J.A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


Ice particle interarrival times have been measured with a fast forward scattering spectrometer probe (FSSP). The distribution of interarrival times is bimodal instead of the exponential distribution expected for a Poisson process. The interarrival time modes are located at 10−2 and 10−4 s. This equates to horizontal spacings on both the centimeter and meter scales. The characteristics of the interarrival times are well modeled by a Markov chain process that couples together two independent Poisson processes operating at different scales. The possibility that ice crystals shattering on the probe tip causes the bimodal interarrival times is explored and cannot be ruled out. If the observations are indicating real spacings of particles in clouds, then the observations show very localized (centimeter scale) concentrations of 100 s cm−3 embedded within an average concentration of typically 1 cm−3. If the localized high concentrations are produced by the ice crystals shattering, then the concentration measured by the FSSP is overcounted by a factor of 5 in the worst case measured here, but more typically by a factor of 2. This uncertainty in concentration will adversely affect the predicted radiative influence of these clouds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-160
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


Dive into the research topics of 'Ice particle inter-arrival times measured with a fast FSSP'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this