Skip to main content
An assessment of the radiative effects of ice supersaturation based on in situ observations
Geophysical Research Letters (2016)
  • Xiaoxiao Tan, Peking University
  • Yi Huang, McGill University
  • Minghui Diao, San Jose State University
  • Aaron Bansemer, National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Mark A. Zondlo, Princeton University
  • Joshua P. DiGangi, NASA Langley Research Center
  • Rainer M. Volkamer, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Yongyun Hu, Peking University
We use aircraft observations combined with the reanalysis data to investigate the radiative effects of ice supersaturation (ISS). Our results show that although the excess water vapor over ice saturation itself has relatively small radiative effects, mistaking it as ice crystals in climate models would lead to considerable impacts: on average, +2.49 W/m2 change in the top of the atmosphere (TOA) radiation, −2.7 W/m2 change in surface radiation, and 1.47 K/d change in heating rates. The radiative effects of ISS generally increase with the magnitudes of supersaturation. However, there is a strong dependence on the preexisting ice water path, which can even change the sign of the TOA radiative effect. It is therefore important to consider coexistence between ISS and ice clouds and to validate their relationship in the parameterizations of ISS in climate models.
Publication Date
October 28, 2016
Publisher Statement
This article originally appeared in Geophysical Research Letters, volume 43, issue 20, 2016. © 2016 American Geophysical Union. This work can also be found online at this link

SJSU Users: use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.

Citation Information
Xiaoxiao Tan, Yi Huang, Minghui Diao, Aaron Bansemer, et al.. "An assessment of the radiative effects of ice supersaturation based on in situ observations" Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 43 Iss. 20 (2016) p. 11039 - 11047 ISSN: 0094-8276
Available at: