EGU21-3306, updated on 04 Oct 2023
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Measuring snowfall properties with the Video In Situ Snowfall Sensor during MOSAiC

Maximilian Maahn1, Martin Radenz2, Christopher Cox3, Michael Gallagher3,4, Jennifer Hutchings5, Matthew Shupe3,4, and Taneil Uttal3
Maximilian Maahn et al.
  • 1Leipzig University, Leipzig Institute for Meteorology, Leipzig, Germany (
  • 2TROPOS Leibniz-Institut für Troposphärenforschung e.V., Leipzig, Germany
  • 3NOAA Physical Sciences Lab, Boulder, USA
  • 4CIRES, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
  • 5Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA

Snow is an essential component of the climate system impacting surface albedo, glaciers, sea ice, freshwater storage, and cloud lifetime. Even though we do not know the exact pathways through which ice, liquid, cloud dynamics, and aerosols are interacting in clouds while forming snowfall, the involved processes can be identified by their fingerprints on snow particles. The general shape of individual crystals (dendritic, columns, plates) depends on the temperature and moisture conditions during growth from water vapor deposition. Aggregation can be identified when multiple individual particles are combined into a snowflake. Riming describes the freezing of cloud droplets onto the snow particle and can eventually form graupel. In order to exploit these unique fingerprints of cloud microphysical processes, optical observations are required.

The Video In Situ Snowfall Sensor (VISSS) was specifically developed for the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) campaign to determine particle shape and particle size distributions. Different to other sensors, the VISSS minimizes uncertainties by combining two-dimensional high-resolution images with a large measurement volume and a design limiting the impact of wind. Here, we show first results from the MOSAiC campaign and present examples for synergy effects that can be obtained by combining radar and VISSS measurements.

How to cite: Maahn, M., Radenz, M., Cox, C., Gallagher, M., Hutchings, J., Shupe, M., and Uttal, T.: Measuring snowfall properties with the Video In Situ Snowfall Sensor during MOSAiC, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3306,, 2021.