Ice nuclei characteristics from M-PACE and their relation to ice formation in clouds

Anthony J. Prenni, Paul J. Demott, David C. Rogers, Sonia M. Kreidenweis, Greg M. Mcfarquhar, Gong Zhang, Michael R. Poellot

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This paper presents airborne measurements of ice nuclei (IN) number concentration and elemental composition from the mixed-phase Arctic cloud experiment (M-PACE) in northern Alaska during October 2004. Although the project average IN concentration was low, less than 1 L-1 STP, there was significant spatial and temporal variability, with local maximum concentrations of nearly 60 L-1 STP. Immersion and/or condensation freezing appear to be the dominant freezing mechanisms, whereas mechanisms that occur below water saturation played a smaller role. The dominant particle types identified as IN were metal oxides/dust (39%), carbonaceous particles (35%) and mixtures of metal oxides/dust with either carbonaceous components or salts/sulphates (25%), although there was significant variability in elemental composition. Trajectory analysis suggests both local and remote sources, including biomass burning and volcanic ash. Seasonal variability of IN number concentrations based on this study and data from SHEBA/FIRE-ACE indicates that fall concentrations are depleted relative to spring by about a factor of five. Average IN number concentrations from both studies compare favorably with cloud ice number concentrations of cloud particles larger than 125 μm, for temperatures less than -10 °C. Cloud ice number concentrations also were enhanced in spring, by a factor of ∼2, but only over a limited temperature range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-448
Number of pages13
JournalTellus, Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Volume61 B
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 13 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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