Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Research article
17 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 17 Feb 2015

Assessment of the performance of the inter-arrival time algorithm to identify ice shattering artifacts in cloud particle probe measurements

A. Korolev and P. R. Field

Abstract. Shattering presents a serious obstacle to current airborne in situ methods of characterizing the microphysical properties of ice clouds. Small shattered fragments result from the impact of natural ice crystals with the forward parts of aircraft-mounted measurement probes. The presence of these shattered fragments may result in a significant overestimation of the measured concentration of small ice crystals, contaminating the measurement of the ice particle size distribution (PSD). One method of identifying shattered particles is to use an inter-arrival time algorithm. This method is based on the assumption that shattered fragments form spatial clusters that have short inter-arrival times between particles, relative to natural particles, when they pass through the sample volume of the probe. The inter-arrival time algorithm is a successful technique for the classification of shattering artifacts and natural particles. This study assesses the limitations and efficiency of the inter-arrival time algorithm. The analysis has been performed using simultaneous measurements of two-dimensional (2-D) optical array probes with the standard and antishattering "K-tips" collected during the Airborne Icing Instrumentation Experiment (AIIE). It is shown that the efficiency of the algorithm depends on ice particle size, concentration and habit. Additional numerical simulations indicate that the effectiveness of the inter-arrival time algorithm to eliminate shattering artifacts can be significantly restricted in some cases. Improvements to the inter-arrival time algorithm are discussed. It is demonstrated that blind application of the inter-arrival time algorithm cannot filter out all shattered aggregates. To mitigate against the effects of shattering, the inter-arrival time algorithm should be used together with other means, such as antishattering tips and specially designed algorithms for segregation of shattered artifacts and natural particles.