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Persistence of orographic mixed-phase clouds

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Lohmann U., Henneberger J., Henneberg O., Fugal J. P., Buhl J., Kanji Z. A.,
Project Beitrag an den Unterhalt und Betrieb der Hochalpinen Forschungsstationen Jungfraujoch und Gornergrat, 2015-2017
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Geophysical Research Letters
Volume (Issue) 43
Page(s) 10512 - 10519
Title of proceedings Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1002/2016gl071036

Open Access


Mixed-phase clouds (MPCs) consist of ice crystals and supercooled water droplets at temperatures between 0 and approximately -38 degrees C. They are thermodynamically unstable because the saturation vapor pressure over ice is lower than that over supercooled liquid water. Nevertheless, long-lived MPCs are ubiquitous in the Arctic. Here we show that persistent MPCs are also frequently found in orographic terrain, especially in the Swiss Alps, when the updraft velocities are high enough to exceed saturation with respect to liquid water allowing simultaneous growth of supercooled liquid droplets and ice crystals. Their existence is characterized by holographic measurements of cloud particles obtained at the high-altitude research station Jungfraujoch during spring 2012 and winter 2013 and simulations with the regional climate model COSMO (Consortium of Small-Scale Modeling).