Creating the next generation of 3D simulation means for icing

The ICE GENESIS campaign

ICE GENESIS ( ) is a large multi-partner international project dedicated to the improvement of aircraft safety, by creating new 3-D simulation means for icing. One of the challenges is to better understand, characterize and model the properties of ice and snow particles and the mechanisms responsible for icing of rotor-craft and aircraft.

As a milestone within this framework, a multi-sensor field experiment took place in the Swiss Jura between January and March 2021. The field campaign was designed to collect observations of clouds and snowfall between -10 and +2°C, i.e. the temperature range prescribed by available regulatory and guidance documents

At ground level, six Doppler meteorological radars
operating at frequencies ranging from 10 to 95 GHz (and one lidar) were deployed. Quasi-colocated observations of standard meteorological variables as well as high-resolution pictures of falling snowflakes from a multi-angle snowflake camera were also collected.

View of the main ground-based site with the remote sensing instruments.

A suite of in-situ and remote sensing instruments was included on-board a Safire ATR 42 aircraft, which performed overpasses over the ground site. The payload included airborne probes and imagers, able to sample liquid and ice particles from the micron to the millimeter size range, as well as icing sensors and cameras and two Doppler cloud radars.

Map of the area of La Chaux-de-Fonds (CH), with the trajectories of the Safire ATR42 scientific aircraft during the different flights.


The novelty of the ICE GENESIS experiment comes from its specific target on snowfall microphysics at mild temperatures, and from the synergy between remote sensing and in-situ instruments. Thanks to those features, the dataset brings new opportunities to improve the description and representation of snowfall properties and processes. While it was specifically designed to tackle questions related to aircraft safety in snowfall, the scientific applications extend well beyond aircraft design and related industrial challenges.

Examples of scientific questions to which the ICE GENESIS dataset is relevant include the development and validation of multi-frequency or dual-polarization radar retrievals, possible advances in the field of numerical weather prediction via improvements of microphysical schemes, detailed studies of the melting layer, etc.