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Ice multiplication (IM) processes can have a profound impact on cloud and precipitation development but are poorly understood. Here we study whether a lower limit of ice nuclei exists to initiate IM. The lower limit is found to be extremely low (0.01 per liter or less). A counterintuitive but profound conclusion thus emerges: IM requires cloud formation around a thermodynamic sweet spot and is sensitive to fluctuations in cloud condensation nuclei concentration alone.
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ACP | Articles | Volume 18, issue 3
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 1593–1610, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-1593-2018
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 1593–1610, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-1593-2018

Research article 05 Feb 2018

Research article | 05 Feb 2018

Initiation of secondary ice production in clouds

Sylvia C. Sullivan et al.

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Cited articles

Beard, K. V.: Ice initiation in warm-base convective clouds: an assessment of microphysical mechanisms, Atmos. Res., 28, 125–152, https://doi.org/10.1016/0169-8095(92)90024-5, 1992. a, b, c
Bogacki, P. and Shampine, L. F.: A 3(2) pair of Runge–Kutta formulas, Appl. Math. Lett., 2, 321–325, https://doi.org/10.1016/0893-9659(89)90079-7, 1989. a
Borys, D. R., Lowenthal, D. H., Cohn, S. A., and Brown, W. O. J.: Mountaintop and radar measurements of anthropogenic aerosol effects on snow growth and snowfall rate, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 1538, https://doi.org/10.1029/2002GL016855, 2003. a
Cannon, T. D., Dye, J. E., and Toutenhoofd, V.: The mechanism of precipitation formation in Northeastern Colorado cumulus II. Sailplane measurements, J. Atmos. Sci., 31, 2148–2151, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469(1974)031< 2152:TMOPFI> 2.0.CO;2, 1974. a
Chen, J.-P. and Lamb, D.: The theoretical basis for the parameterization of ice crystal habits: growth by vapor deposition, J. Atmos. Sci., 51, 1206–1221, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520-0469, 1994. a
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Short summary
Ice multiplication (IM) processes can have a profound impact on cloud and precipitation development but are poorly understood. Here we study whether a lower limit of ice nuclei exists to initiate IM. The lower limit is found to be extremely low (0.01 per liter or less). A counterintuitive but profound conclusion thus emerges: IM requires cloud formation around a thermodynamic sweet spot and is sensitive to fluctuations in cloud condensation nuclei concentration alone.
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Final-revised paper
Preprint