Articles | Volume 16, issue 17
Research article
14 Sep 2016
Research article |  | 14 Sep 2016

Cloud ice caused by atmospheric mineral dust – Part 1: Parameterization of ice nuclei concentration in the NMME-DREAM model

Slobodan Nickovic, Bojan Cvetkovic, Fabio Madonna, Marco Rosoldi, Goran Pejanovic, Slavko Petkovic, and Jugoslav Nikolic

Abstract. Dust aerosols are very efficient ice nuclei, important for heterogeneous cloud glaciation even in regions distant from desert sources. A new generation of ice nucleation parameterizations, including dust as an ice nucleation agent, opens the way towards a more accurate treatment of cold cloud formation in atmospheric models. Using such parameterizations, we have developed a regional dust-atmospheric modelling system capable of predicting, in real time, dust-induced ice nucleation. We executed the model with the added ice nucleation component over the Mediterranean region, exposed to moderate Saharan dust transport, over two periods lasting 15 and 9 days, respectively. The model results were compared against satellite and ground-based cloud-ice-related measurements, provided by SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager) and the CNR-IMAA Atmospheric Observatory (CIAO) in Potenza, southern Italy. The predicted ice nuclei concentration showed a reasonable level of agreement when compared against the observed spatial and temporal patterns of cloud ice water. The developed methodology permits the use of ice nuclei as input into the cloud microphysics schemes of atmospheric models, assuming that this approach could improve the predictions of cloud formation and associated precipitation.

Short summary
Specific physical and mineralogical properties of desert dust particles cause extremely efficient production of ice crystals in clouds, thus influencing climate and weather even in regions far from dust sources. This study describes a methodology for predicting conditions of cold cloud formation due to dust. This approach required development of an integrated dust-atmospheric modelling system, designed to improve operational forecasts of weather in general, and cloud/precipitation in particular.
Final-revised paper