27 May 2021

27 May 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Multi-thermals and high concentrations of secondary ice: A modelling study of convective clouds during the ICE-D campaign

Zhiqiang Cui1, Alan Blyth1,2, Gary Lloyd3, Thomas Choularton3, Keith Bower3, Paul Field1,4, Rachel Hawker1, and Lindsay Bennett2 Zhiqiang Cui et al.
  • 1Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Leeds, LS2 9PH, UK
  • 3Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
  • 4Met Office, Exeter, UK

Abstract. This paper examines the mechanisms responsible for the production of ice in convective clouds influenced by mineral dust. Observations were made in the Ice in Clouds Experiment – Dust (ICE-D) field campaign which took place in the vicinity of Cape Verde during August 2015. Measurements made with instruments on the FAAM aircraft through the clouds on 21 August showed that ice particles were observed in high concentrations at temperatures greater than about −8 °C. Sensitivity studies were performed using existing parametrisation schemes in a cloud model to explore the impact of the freezing onset temperature, the efficiency of freezing, mineral dust as efficient ice nuclei, and multi-thermals on secondary ice production by the rime-splintering process.

The simulation with the default Morrison microphysics scheme (Morrison et al., 2005) that involved a single thermal produced a concentration of secondary ice that was much lower than the observed value of total ice number concentration. Relaxing the onset temperature to a higher value, enhancing the freezing efficiency, or combinations of these, increased the secondary ice particle concentration, but not by a sufficient amount. Simulations that involved only dust particles as ice nucleating particles produced a lower concentration of secondary ice particles, since the freezing onset temperature is low. The simulations implicate that a higher concentration of ice nucleating particles with a higher freezing onset temperature may explain some of the observed high concentrations of secondary ice. However, a simulation with two thermals that used the original Morrison scheme without enhancement or relaxation produced the greatest concentration of secondary ice particles. It did so because of the increased time that graupel particles were exposed to significant cloud liquid water content in the Hallett-Mossop temperature zone. The forward-facing camera and measurements of the vertical wind in repeated passes of the same cloud suggested that these tropical clouds contained multiple thermals. Hence, in a similar way to other convective clouds observed elsewhere in the world, it is likely that multi-thermals play an important role in producing very high concentrations of secondary ice particles in some tropical clouds.

Zhiqiang Cui et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-323', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Jun 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-323', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Jun 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on acp-2021-323', Anonymous Referee #3, 24 Jun 2021

Zhiqiang Cui et al.

Zhiqiang Cui et al.


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Short summary
High concentrations of ice particles were observed at temperatures greater than about −8 °C. The default scheme of the secondary ice production cannot explain the high concentrations. Relaxing the conditions for secondary ice production or considering dust aerosol alone is insufficient to produce the observed amount of ice particles. It is likely that multi-thermals play an important role in producing very high concentrations of secondary ice particles in some tropical clouds.