Aerosol–ice formation closure: A Southern great plains field campaign

D. A. Knopf, K. R. Barry, T. A. Brubaker, L. G. Jahl, K. A. Jankowski, J. Li, Y. Lu, L. W. Monroe, K. A. Moore, F. A. Rivera-Adorno, K. A. Sauceda, Y. Shi, J. M. Tomlin, H. S.K. Vepuri, P. Wang, N. N. Lata, E. J.T. Levin, J. M. Creamean, T. C.J. Hill, S. ChinaP. A. Alpert, R. C. Moffet, N. Hiranuma, R. C. Sullivan, A. M. Fridlind, M. West, N. Riemer, A. Laskin, P. J. DeMott, X. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prediction of ice formation in clouds presents one of the grand challenges in the atmospheric sciences. Immersion freezing initiated by ice-nucleating particles (INPs) is the dominant pathway of primary ice crystal formation in mixed-phase clouds, where supercooled water droplets and ice crystals coexist, with important implications for the hydrological cycle and climate. However, derivation of INP number concentrations from an ambient aerosol population in cloud-resolving and climate models remains highly uncertain. We conducted an aerosol–ice formation closure pilot study using a field-observational approach to evaluate the predictive capability of immersion freezing INPs. The closure study relies on collocated measurements of the ambient size-resolved and single-particle composition and INP number concentrations. The acquired particle data serve as input in several immersion freezing parameterizations, which are employed in cloud-resolving and climate models, for prediction of INP number concentrations. We discuss in detail one closure case study in which a front passed through the measurement site, resulting in a change of ambient particle and INP populations. We achieved closure in some circumstances within uncertainties, but we emphasize the need for freezing parameterization of potentially missing INP types and evaluation of the choice of parameterization to be employed. Overall, this closure pilot study aims to assess the level of parameter details and measurement strategies needed to achieve aerosol–ice formation closure. The closure approach is designed to accurately guide immersion freezing schemes in models, and ultimately identify the leading causes for climate model bias in INP predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1952-E1971
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Aerosol indirect effect
  • Aerosol-cloud interaction
  • Aerosols
  • Aerosols/particulates
  • Cloud microphysics
  • Glaciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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