Data Origin

The Real Ice Crystals data sets originate from four airborne field campaigns


The Airborne Research Instrumentation Testing Opportunity (ARISTO) is a NSF-sponsored flight test program that is annually conducted on one of the NSF/NCAR aircrafts. In 2017 it was conducted with the NSF/NCAR HIAPER. One of the test flights probed an upper level cloud system that consisted of an in situ formed cirrus and a mixed-phase cloud directly below it. During the in situ passes PHIPS captured bullet rosettes, columns and plate-like crystals.


The Arctic CLoud Observations Using airborne measurements during polar Day (ACLOUD) campaign took place out north-west of Svalbard (Norway) between 23 May and 6 June 2017.  Two research aircraft, Polar 5 & 6, operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Marine and Polar research were deployed during the campaign. The Polar 5 aircraft carried a remote sensing payload whereas the Polar 6 aircraft performed in situ sampling – including ice crystal observations performed with the PHIPS probe. Research flights mainly targeted single-layer mixed-phase clouds in the both sides of the sea ice edge. Dominant ice particle types found were needles, columns and plates. Riming was observed on a large number of the ice particles.


The Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES) targeted low-level clouds over the ocean between Tasmania and Antarctica. Altogether 15 research flights were conducted between January 15 and February 26, 2018 from Hobart. Typical ice particle types found in the low level clouds were needles, columns and plates. Occasionally mid-level clouds were sampled where complex plate-like particles and bullet rosettes were found. SOCRATES campaign used the HIAPER aircraft that is operated by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).


The Cape Experiment 2019 was conducted with the Weather Modification International (WMI) Cessna Citation II Research Aircraft  based in Titusville, Florida. In a period of two weeks in July and August 2019 research flights were conducted in thunderstorm anvils near Cape Canaveral. The project was funded by NRL in an effort to improve the understanding of thunderstorms. Dominant ice particle types found in the convective anvils were plates and aggregates of plates. Occasionally, in situ formed cirrus with bullet rosettes and small columnar ice particles were sampled.