27 Jan 2022
27 Jan 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Predicting atmospheric background number concentration of ice nucleating particles in the Arctic

Guangyu Li1,, Jörg Wieder1,, Julie T. Pasquier1, Jan Henneberger1, and Zamin A. Kanji1 Guangyu Li et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Mixed-phase clouds (MPCs) can have a net warming or cooling radiative effect on climate influenced by the phase and concentration of cloud particles. They have received considerable attention due to high spatial coverage and occurrence frequency in the Arctic. To initiate ice formation in MPCs at temperatures above −38 °C, ice nucleating particles (INPs) are required, which therefore have important implications on the radiative properties of MPCs by altering the ice to liquid ratio of hydrometeors. As a result, constraining ambient INP concentrations could promote accurate representation of cloud microphysical processes and reduce the uncertainties in estimating the cloud-phase-related climate feedback in climate models. Currently, INP parameterizations are lacking for remote Arctic environments. Here we present INP number concentrations and their variability measured in Ny-Ålesund (Svalbard) at temperatures between 0 and −30 °C. No distinguishable seasonal difference was observed from 12 weeks of field measurements in autumn 2019 and spring 2020. In addition, correlating INP concentrations to aerosol physical properties was not feasible. Therefore, we propose a lognormal-distribution-based parameterization to predict Arctic INP concentration solely as a function of temperature. In practice, the parameterized variables allow for a) the prediction of the most likely INP concentrations and; b) the retrieval of the governing distribution of INP concentrations at given temperatures in the Arctic.

Guangyu Li 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-2022-21', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Feb 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-21', Anonymous Referee #2, 14 May 2022

Guangyu Li et al.

Guangyu Li et al.


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Short summary
The concentration of ice nucleating particles (INPs) is atmospherically relevant for primary ice formation in clouds. In this work, from 12 weeks of field measurement data in the Arctic, we developed a new parameterization to predict INP concentrations based only on temperature applicable for pristine background conditions. The INP parameterization could improve the cloud microphysical representation in climate models, aiding in Arctic climate predictions.