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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
01 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
A Prototype Method for Diagnosing High Ice Water Content Probability Using Satellite Imager Data
Christopher R. Yost2, Kristopher M. Bedka1, Patrick Minnis2, Louis Nguyen1, J. Walter Strapp3, Rabindra Palikonda2, Konstantin Khlopenkov2, Douglas Spangenberg2, William L. Smith Jr.1, Alain Protat4, and Julien Delanoe5 1NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, 23681, USA
2Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton, VA, 23666, USA
3Met Analytics Inc., Aurora, Ontario, Canada
4Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia
5Laboratoire Atmosphere, Milieux, et Observations Spatiales, Guyancourt, France
Abstract. Recent studies have found that flight through deep convective storms and ingestion of high mass concentrations of ice crystals, also known as high ice water content (HIWC), into aircraft engines can adversely impact aircraft engine performance. These aircraft engine icing events caused by HIWC have been documented during flight in weak reflectivity regions near convective updraft regions that do not appear threatening in onboard weather radar data. Three airborne field campaigns were conducted in 2014 and 2015 to better understand how HIWC is distributed in deep convection, both as a function of altitude and proximity to convective updraft regions, and to facilitate development of new methods for detecting HIWC conditions, in addition to many other research and regulatory goals. This paper describes a prototype method for detecting HIWC conditions using geostationary (GEO) satellite imager data coupled with in-situ total water content (TWC) observations collected during the flight campaigns. Three satellite-derived parameters were determined to be most useful for determining HIWC probability: 1) the horizontal proximity of the aircraft to the nearest overshooting convective updraft or textured anvil cloud, 2) tropopause-relative infrared brightness temperature, and 3) daytime-only cloud optical depth. Statistical fits between collocated TWC and GEO satellite parameters were used to determine the membership functions for the fuzzy logic derivation of HIWC probability. The products were demonstrated using data from several campaign flights and validated using a subset of the satellite-aircraft collocation database. The daytime HIWC probability was found to agree quite well with TWC time trends and identified extreme TWC events with high probability. Discrimination of HIWC was more challenging at night with IR-only information. The products show the greatest capability for discriminating TWC ≥ 0.5 g m−3. Product validation remains challenging due to vertical TWC uncertainties and the typically coarse spatio-temporal resolution of the GEO data.

Citation: Yost, C. R., Bedka, K. M., Minnis, P., Nguyen, L., Strapp, J. W., Palikonda, R., Khlopenkov, K., Spangenberg, D., Smith Jr., W. L., Protat, A., and Delanoe, J.: A Prototype Method for Diagnosing High Ice Water Content Probability Using Satellite Imager Data, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Christopher R. Yost et al.
Christopher R. Yost et al.
Christopher R. Yost et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Accretion of ice particles in aircraft engines can cause instrument malfunction or even power loss, and therefore it is important for aircraft to avoid flight through clouds that may have produced large quantities of ice particles. This study introduces a method by which potentially hazardous conditions can be detected using satellite imagery. It was found that potentially hazardous conditions were often located near or beneath very cold clouds and thunderstorm updrafts.
Accretion of ice particles in aircraft engines can cause instrument malfunction or even power...