29 May 2020

29 May 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

The role of nanoparticles in Arctic cloud formation

Linn Karlsson1,2, Radovan Krejci1,2, Makoto Koike3, Kerstin Ebell4, and Paul Zieger1,2 Linn Karlsson et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2Bolin Centre for Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
  • 4Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Abstract. To constrain uncertainties in radiative forcings associated with aerosol--cloud interactions, improved understanding of Arctic cloud formation is required, yet long-term measurements of the relevant cloud and aerosol properties remain sparse. We present the first long-term study of cloud residuals, i.e. particles that were involved in cloud formation, and ambient aerosol particles in Arctic low-level clouds measured at Zeppelin Observatory, Svalbard. A detailed evaluation of the ground-based counter-flow virtual impactor inlet system is also presented. Cloud residuals as small as 15 nm are routinely observed especially during the dark period and are potentially linked to ice, supporting prior work suggesting that classical droplet activation is not the only relevant process in the formation of Arctic low-level clouds. The reported measurements and findings provide a new basis for improving our understanding of Arctic clouds and for developing robust parameterisations of mixed-phase clouds in Earth system models.

Linn Karlsson et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
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Linn Karlsson et al.

Linn Karlsson et al.


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Short summary
Aerosol-cloud interactions in the Arctic are poorly understood, largely due to a lack of observational data. We present the first direct, long-term measurements of cloud residuals, i.e. the particles that remain when cloud droplets and ice crystals are dried. For the first time, we can distinguish between particles that are relevant for cloud formation, and those that are not. These detailed observations of cloud residuals cover more than two years, which is unique for the Arctic and globally.