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  1. Abstract

    Cirrus ice crystals are produced heterogeneously on ice‐nucleating particles (INPs) and homogeneously in supercooled liquid solution droplets. They grow by uptake of water molecules from the ice‐supersaturated vapor. The precursor particles, characterized by disparate ice nucleation abilities and number concentrations, compete for available vapor during ice formation events. We investigate cirrus formation events systematically in different temperature and updraft regimes, and for different INP number concentrations and time‐independent nucleation efficiencies. We consider vertical air motion variability due to mesoscale gravity waves and effects of supersaturation‐dependent deposition coefficients for water molecules on ice surfaces. We analyze ice crystal properties to better understand the dynamics of competing nucleation processes. We study the reduction of ice crystal numbers produced by homogeneous freezing due to INPs in both, individual simulations assuming constant updraft speeds and in ensemble simulations based on a stochastic representation of vertical wind speed fluctuations. We simulate and interpret probability distributions of total nucleated ice crystal number concentrations, showing signatures of homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation. At typically observed, mean updraft speeds (≈15 cm s−1) competing nucleation should occur frequently, even at rather low INP number concentrations (<10 L−1). INPs increase cirrus occurrence and may alter cirrus microphysical properties without entirely suppressing homogeneous freezing events. We suggest to improve ice growth models, especially for low cirrus temperatures (<220 K) and low ice supersaturation (<0.3).

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    Stratocumulus clouds over the Southern Ocean have fewer droplets and are more likely to exist in the predominately supercooled phase than clouds at similar temperatures over northern oceans. One likely reason is that this region has few continental and anthropogenic sources of cloud-nucleating particles that can form droplets and ice. In this work, we present an overview of aerosol particle types over the Southern Ocean, including new measurements made below, in and above clouds in this region. These measurements and others indicate that biogenic sulfur-based particles >0.1 μm diameter contribute the majority of cloud condensation nuclei number concentrations in summer. Ice nucleating particles tend to have more organic components, likely from sea-spray. Both types of cloud nucleating particles may increase in a warming climate likely to have less sea ice, more phytoplankton activity, and stronger winds over the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. Taken together, clouds over the Southern Ocean may become more reflective and partially counter the region’s expected albedo decrease due to diminishing sea ice. However, detailed modeling studies are needed to test this hypothesis due to the complexity of ocean-cloud-climate feedbacks in the region. 
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  4. Abstract 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. 
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  5. Abstract

    Wildfire is a natural and integral ecosystem process that is necessary to maintain species composition, structure, and ecosystem function. Extreme fires have been increasing over the last decades, which have a substantial impact on air quality, human health, the environment, and climate systems. Smoke aerosols can be transported over large distances, acting as pollutants that affect adjacent and distant downwind communities and environments. Fire emissions are a complicated mixture of trace gases and aerosols, many of which are short‐lived and chemically reactive, and this mixture affects atmospheric composition in complex ways that are not completely understood. We present a review of the current state of knowledge of smoke aerosol emissions originating from wildfires. Satellite observations, from both passive and active instruments, are critical to providing the ability to view the large‐scale influence of fire, smoke, and their impacts. Progress in the development of fire emission estimates to regional and global chemical transport models has advanced, although significant challenges remain, such as connecting ecosystems and fuels burned with dependent atmospheric chemistry. Knowledge of the impact of smoke on radiation, clouds, and precipitation has progressed and is an essential topical research area. However, current measurements and parameterizations are not adequate to describe the impacts on clouds of smoke particles (e.g., CNN, INP) from fire emissions in the range of representative environmental conditions necessary to advance science or modeling. We conclude by providing recommendations to the community that we believe will advance the science and understanding of the impact of fire smoke emissions on human and environmental health, as well as feedback with climate systems.

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  6. Abstract

    The abundance and sources of ice‐nucleating particles, particles required for heterogeneous ice nucleation, are long‐standing sources of uncertainty in quantifying aerosol‐cloud interactions. In this study, we demonstrate near closure between immersion freezing ice‐nucleating particle number concentration (nINPs) observations andnINPscalculated from simulated sea spray aerosol and dust. The Community Atmospheric Model with constrained meteorology was used to simulate aerosol concentrations at the Mace Head Research Station (North Atlantic) and over the Southern Ocean to the south of Tasmania (Clouds, Aerosols, Precipitation, Radiation, and atmospherIc Composition Over the southeRN ocean campaign). Model‐predictednINPswere within a factor of 10 ofnINPsobserved with an off‐line ice spectrometer at Mace Head Research Station and Clouds, Aerosols, Precipitation, Radiation, and atmospherIc Composition Over the southeRN ocean campaign, for 93% and 69% of observations, respectively. Simulated vertical profiles ofnINPsreveal that transported dust may be critical tonINPsin remote regions and that sea spray aerosol may be the dominate contributor to primary ice nucleation in Southern Ocean low‐level mixed‐phase clouds.

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  7. Data from both laboratory studies and atmospheric measurements are used to develop an empirical parameterization for the immersion freezing activity of natural mineral dust particles. Measurements made with the Colorado State University (CSU) continuous flow diffusion chamber (CFDC) when processing mineral dust aerosols at a nominal 105% relative humidity with respect to water (RHw) are taken as a measure of the immersion freezing nucleation activity of particles. Ice active frozen fractions vs. temperature for dusts representative of Saharan and Asian desert sources were consistent with similar measurements in atmospheric dust plumes for a limited set of comparisons available. The parameterization developed follows the form of one suggested previously for atmospheric particles of non-specific composition in quantifying ice nucleating particle concentrations as functions of temperature and the total number concentration of particles larger than 0.5 μm diameter. Such an approach does not explicitly account for surface area and time dependencies for ice nucleation, but sufficiently encapsulates the activation properties for potential use in regional and global modeling simulations, and possible application in developing remote sensing retrievals for ice nucleating particles. A calibration factor is introduced to account for the apparent underestimate (by approximately 3, on average) of the immersion freezing fraction of mineral dust particles for CSU CFDC data processed at an RHw of 105% vs. maximum fractions active at higher RHw. Instrumental factors that affect activation behavior vs. RHw in CFDC instruments remain to be fully explored in future studies. Nevertheless, the use of this calibration factor is supported by comparison to ice activation data obtained for the same aerosols from Aerosol Interactions and Dynamics of the Atmosphere (AIDA) expansion chamber cloud parcel experiments. Further comparison of the new parameterization, including calibration correction, to predictions of the immersion freezing surface active site density parameterization for mineral dust particles, developed separately from AIDA experimental data alone, shows excellent agreement for data collected in a descent through a Saharan aerosol layer. These studies support the utility of laboratory measurements to obtain atmospherically relevant data on the ice nucleation properties of dust and other particle types, and suggest the suitability of considering all mineral dust as a single type of ice nucleating particle as a useful first-order approximation in numerical modeling investigations. 
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  8. Abstract

    The formation of ice in clouds can strongly impact cloud properties and precipitation processes during storms, including atmospheric rivers. Sea spray aerosol (SSA) particles are relatively inefficient as ice nucleating particles (INPs) compared to mineral dust. However, due to the vast coverage of the Earth's surface by the oceans, a number of recent studies have focused on identifying sources of marine INPs, particularly in regions lacking a strong influence from dust. This study describes the integration, validation, and application of a system coupling a continuous flow diffusion chamber with a single particle mass spectrometer using a pumped counterflow virtual impactor to remove nonnucleated particles and selectively measure the composition of INPs with a detection efficiency of 3.10×10−4. In situ measurements of immersion freezing INP composition were made at a coastal site in California using the integrated system. Mineral dust particles were the most abundant ice crystal residual type during the sampling period and found to be ice active despite having undergone atmospheric processing. SSA were more abundant in ambient measurements but represented only a minor fraction of the ice crystal residual population at −31 °C. Notably, the SSA particles that activated were enriched with organic nitrogen species that were likely transferred from the ocean. Calculations of ice nucleation active site densities were within good agreement with previous studies of mineral dust and SSA.

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