Articles | Volume 10, issue 3
20 Jul 2018
 | 20 Jul 2018

A general database of hydrometeor single scattering properties at microwave and sub-millimetre wavelengths

Patrick Eriksson, Robin Ekelund, Jana Mendrok, Manfred Brath, Oliver Lemke, and Stefan A. Buehler

Abstract. A main limitation today in simulations and inversions of microwave observations of ice hydrometeors (cloud ice, snow, hail, etc.) is the lack of data describing the interaction between electromagnetic waves and the particles. To improve the situation, the development of a comprehensive dataset of such scattering properties has been started. The database aims at giving a broad coverage in both frequency (1 to 886 GHz) and temperature (190 to 270 K), to support both passive and active current and planned measurements, and to provide data corresponding to the full Stokes vector. This first version of the database is restricted to totally random particle orientation. Data for 34 particle sets, i.e. habits, have been generated. About 17 of the habits can be classified as single crystals, three habits can be seen as heavily rimed particles, and the remaining habits are aggregates of different types, e.g. snow and hail. The particle sizes considered vary between the habits, but maximum diameters of 10 and 20 mm are typical values for the largest single crystal and aggregate particles, respectively, and the number of sizes per habit is at least 30. Particles containing liquid water are also inside the scope of the database, but this phase of water is so far only represented by a liquid sphere habit. The database is built upon the netCDF4 file format. Interfaces to browse, extract and convert data for selected radiative transfer models are provided in MATLAB and Python. The database and associated tools are publicly available from Zenodo (, Ekelund et al., 2018b), and, Mendrok et al., 2018, respectively). Planned extensions include non-spherical raindrops, melting particles and a second orientation case that can be denoted as azimuthally random.

Short summary
A main application of microwave remote sensing is to observe atmospheric particles consisting of ice. This application requires data on how particles with different shapes and sizes affect the observations. A database of such properties has been developed. The database is the most comprehensive of its type. Main strengths are a good representation of particles of aggregate type and broad frequency coverage.