Articles | Volume 4, issue 3
17 Mar 2011
 | 17 Mar 2011

A comparison of light backscattering and particle size distribution measurements in tropical cirrus clouds

F. Cairo, G. Di Donfrancesco, M. Snels, F. Fierli, M. Viterbini, S. Borrmann, and W. Frey

Abstract. An FSSP-100 Optical Particle Counter designed to count and size particles in the micron range and a backscattersonde that measures in-situ particle optical properties such as backscatter and depolarization ratio, are part of the payload of the high altitude research aircraft M55 Geophysica. This aircraft was deployed in tropical field campaigns in Bauru, Brasil (TROCCINOX, 2004) Darwin, Australia (SCOUT-Darwin, 2005) and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (SCOUT-AMMA, 2006). In those occasions, measurements of particle size distributions and optical properties within cirrus cloud were performed. Scope of the present work is to assess and discuss the consistency between the particle volume backscatter coefficient observed by the backscattersonde and the same parameter retrieved by optical scattering theory applied to particle size distributions as measured by the FSSP-100. In addition, empirical relationships linking the optical properties measured in-situ by the backscattersonde, which generally can be obtained by remote sensing techniques (LIDAR), and microphysical bulk properties like total particle number, surface and volume density will be presented and discussed.