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Title: No anomalous supersaturation in ultracold cirrus laboratory experiments
Abstract. High-altitude cirrus clouds are climatically important: their formationfreeze-dries air ascending to the stratosphere to its final value, and theirradiative impact is disproportionately large. However, their formation andgrowth are not fully understood, and multiple in situ aircraft campaigns haveobserved frequent and persistent apparent water vapor supersaturations of5 %–25 % in ultracold cirrus (T<205 K), even in the presence of iceparticles. A variety of explanations for these observations have been putforth, including that ultracold cirrus are dominated by metastable ice whosevapor pressure exceeds that of hexagonal ice. The 2013 IsoCloud campaign atthe Aerosol Interaction and Dynamics in the Atmosphere (AIDA) cloud andaerosol chamber allowed explicit testing of cirrus formation dynamics atthese low temperatures. A series of 28 experiments allows robust estimationof the saturation vapor pressure over ice for temperatures between 189 and235 K, with a variety of ice nucleating particles. Experiments are rapidenough (∼10 min) to allow detection of any metastable ice that mayform, as the timescale for annealing to hexagonal ice is hours or longer overthe whole experimental temperature range. We show that in all experiments,saturation vapor pressures are fully consistent with expected values forhexagonal ice and inconsistent with the highest values postulated formetastable ice, with no temperature-dependent deviations from expectedsaturation vapor pressure. If metastable ice forms in ultracold cirrusclouds, it appears to have a vapor pressure indistinguishable from that ofhexagonal ice to within about 4.5 %.  more » « less
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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1089 to 1103
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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