Articles | Volume 6, issue 11
Research article
06 Nov 2013
Research article |  | 06 Nov 2013

HOLIMO II: a digital holographic instrument for ground-based in situ observations of microphysical properties of mixed-phase clouds

J. Henneberger, J. P. Fugal, O. Stetzer, and U. Lohmann

Abstract. Measurements of the microphysical properties of mixed-phase clouds with high spatial resolution are important to understand the processes inside these clouds. This work describes the design and characterization of the newly developed ground-based field instrument HOLIMO II (HOLographic Imager for Microscopic Objects II). HOLIMO II uses digital in-line holography to in situ image cloud particles in a well-defined sample volume. By an automated algorithm, two-dimensional images of single cloud particles between 6 and 250 μm in diameter are obtained and the size spectrum, the concentration and water content of clouds are calculated. By testing the sizing algorithm with monosized beads a systematic overestimation near the resolution limit was found, which has been used to correct the measurements.

Field measurements from the high altitude research station Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, are presented. The measured number size distributions are in good agreement with parallel measurements by a fog monitor (FM-100, DMT, Boulder USA). The field data shows that HOLIMO II is capable of measuring the number size distribution with a high spatial resolution and determines ice crystal shape, thus providing a method of quantifying variations in microphysical properties. A case study over a period of 8 h has been analyzed, exploring the transition from a liquid to a mixed-phase cloud, which is the longest observation of a cloud with a holographic device. During the measurement period, the cloud does not completely glaciate, contradicting earlier assumptions of the dominance of the Wegener–Bergeron–Findeisen (WBF) process.