26 Oct 2023
 | 26 Oct 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Detection of small drizzle droplets in a large cloud chamber using ultra high-resolution radar

Zeen Zhu, Fan Yang, Pavlos Kollias, Raymond Shaw, Alex Kostinski, Steve Krueger, Katia Lamer, Nithin Allwayin, and Mariko Oue

Abstract. A large convection cloud chamber has the potential to produce drizzle-sized droplets, thus offering a new opportunity to investigate aerosol-cloud-drizzle interactions at a fundamental level under controlled environmental conditions. One key measurement requirement is the development of methods to detect the low concentration drizzle drops in such a large cloud chamber. In particular, remote sensing methods may overcome some limitations of in situ methods.

Here, the potential of an ultra-high-resolution radar to detect the radar return signal of a small drizzle droplet against the cloud droplet background signal is investigated. It is found that using a small sampling volume is critical to drizzle detection in a cloud chamber to allow a drizzle drop in the radar sampling volume to dominate over the background cloud droplets signal. For instance, a radar volume of 1 cubic centimeter (cm3) would enable the detection of drizzle embryos with diameter larger than 40 μm. However, the probability of drizzle sampling also decreases as the sample volume reduces, leading to a longer observation time. Thus, the selection of radar volume should consider both of the signal power and the drizzle occurrence probability. Finally, observations from the Pi Convection-Cloud Chamber are used to demonstrate the single drizzle particle detection concept using small radar volume. The results presented in this study also suggest new applications of ultra-high-resolution cloud radar for atmospheric sensing.


Zeen Zhu et al.

Status: open (until 01 Dec 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2023-218', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 Nov 2023 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2023-218', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Nov 2023 reply

Zeen Zhu et al.

Zeen Zhu et al.


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Short summary
In this article, we demonstrated the feasibility of applying advanced radar technology to detect liquid droplets generated in the cloud chamber. Specifically, we show that using radar with cm scale resolution, single drizzle drops with a diameter larger than 40 micrometers can be detected. This study proves the applicability of remote sensing instruments in laboratory experiments and suggests new applications of ultra-high-resolution radar for atmospheric sensing.