Monte Carlo Simulation of the Formation of Snowflakes

Maruyama, Ken-Ichi; Fujiyoshi, Yasushi
May 2005
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences;5/1/2005, Vol. 62 Issue 5, p1529
Academic Journal
A stochastic microphysical model of snow aggregation that combines a simple aggregation model with a Monte Carlo method was developed. Explicit treatment of the shape of individual snowflakes in the new model facilitates examination of the structure of snowflakes and the relationships between the parameters of the generated snowflakes, such as mass versus diameter, in addition to comparisons with observations. In this study, complexities in the shape of snowflakes are successfully simulated, and the understanding of the evolution of their size distribution is advanced. The mean diameter of snow particles evolves more rapidly in the aggregate model than in the sphere model. However, growth rates of the aggregates greatly depend on the collision section of particles in aggregation. The mean mass of snowflakes in the aggregate model grows more slowly than the mass in the sphere model when the sum of the particle cross section is used as the collision cross section. The mean mass grows more quickly when a circle is used whose radius is the sum of the radii of two particles. Sensitivity experiments showed that aggregation also depends on the mean and standard deviation of the initial distribution, and on the density of constituent particles.


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