Abstract

Dual-polarization lidar data and radiosonde data are used to determine that iridescence in cirrus and a lunar corona in a thin wave cloud were caused by tiny ice crystals, not droplets of liquid water. The size of the corona diffraction rings recorded in photographs is used to estimate the mean diameter of the diffracting particles to be 14.6μm, much smaller than conventional ice crystals. The iridescent cloud was located at the tropopause [1113.6km above mean sea level (ASL)] with temperature near 70°C, while the more optically pure corona was located at approximately 9.5km ASL with temperature nearing 60°C. Lidar cross-polarization ratios of 0.5 and 0.4 confirm that ice formed both the iridescence and the corona, respectively.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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