Accurate knowledgeof ice particle size and shape distribution is requiredfor understanding of atmospheric microphysical processes. While larger ice particles are easily measured with a variety of sensors, the measurement of small ice particles with sizes down to a few micrometers remains challenging. Here the authors report the development of a system that measures the size and shape of small ice particles using a novel combination of high-resolution imaging and high-speed automated image classification. The optical system has a pixel resolution of 0.2 mm and a resolving power of approximately 1 mm. This imaging instrument is integrated into a cryogenic flow tube that allows precise control of experimental conditions. This study also describes an automated method for the high-speed analysis of high-resolution particle images. Each particle is located in the image using a Sobel edge detector, the border is vectorized, and apolygonrepresentingtheborderisfound.Theverticesofthis polygonareexpressedincomplexcoordinates, and an analytic implementation of Fourier shape descriptors is used for piecewise integration along the edges of the polygon. The authors demonstrate the capabilities of this system in a study of the early-stage growth of ice particles, which are grown for approximately 1 min at fixed temperature and saturated water vapor concentrations in the cryogenic flowtube. Ice particle shapes and size distributions are reported and compared with habit diagrams found in the literature. The capability of the shape recognition system is verified by comparison with manual classification.
T. Kuhn, I. Grishin, J. Sloan
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology