Study of Horizontally Oriented Ice Crystals with CALIPSO Observations and Comparison with Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer Simulations Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractData from the CloudAerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP) indicate that horizontally oriented ice crystals (HOIC) occur frequently in both ice and mixed-phase clouds. When compared with the case for clouds consisting of randomly oriented ice crystals (ROIC), lidar measurements from clouds with HOIC, such as horizontally oriented hexagonal plates or columns, have stronger backscatter signals and smaller depolarization ratio values. In this study, a 3D Monte Carlo model is developed for simulating the CALIOP signals from clouds consisting of a mixture of quasi HOIC and ROIC. With CALIOPs initial orientation with a pointing angle of 0.3 off nadir, the integrated attenuated backscatter is linearly related to the percentage of HOIC but is negatively related to the depolarization ratio. At a later time in the CALIOP mission, the pointing angle of the incident beam was changed to 3 off nadir to minimize the signal from HOIC. In this configuration, both the backscatter and the depolarization ratio are similar for clouds containing HOIC and ROIC. Horizontally oriented columns with two opposing prism facets perpendicular to the lidar beam and horizontally oriented plates show similar backscattering features, but the effect of columns is negligible in comparison with that of plates because the plates have relatively much larger surfaces facing the incident lidar beam. From the comparison between the CALIOP simulations and observations, it is estimated that the percentage of quasi-horizontally oriented plates ranges from 0% to 6% in optically thick mixed-phase clouds, from 0% to 3% in warm ice clouds (>35C), and from 0% to 0.5% in cold ice clouds.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, C., Yang, P., Dessler, A. E., Hu, Y., & Baum, B. A.

citation count

  • 40

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Chen||Yang, Ping||Dessler, Andrew E||Hu, Yongxiang||Baum, Bryan A

publication date

  • July 2012