20 Sep 2022
20 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Aircraft ice-nucleating particle and aerosol composition measurements in the Western North American Arctic

Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin, Sarah L. Barr, Ian T. Burke, Jim B. McQuaid, and Ben J. Murray Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin et al.
  • School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

Abstract. Knowledge of the temperature dependent concentration of ice-nucleating particles (INPs) is crucial to understanding the properties of mixed-phase clouds. However, the sources, transport and removal of INPs around the globe, and particularly in the Arctic region, are poorly understood. In the Arctic winter and spring, when many local sources are covered by ice and snow, it is not clear which INP types are important. In this study, we present a new dataset of aircraft-based immersion mode INP measurements and aerosol size-resolved composition in the Western North American Arctic from the 11th – 21st March 2018. Aerosol samples were collected on filters that were analysed using both a freezing droplet-based assay and Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). The measured INP concentrations were at or close to the limit of detection, with concentrations at -20 °C of 1 L-1 or below. The size-resolved composition measurements indicates that the aerosol concentrations were low, dominated mostly by sea spray aerosol and mineral dust. Further analysis shows that mineral dust is important for the ice-nucleating properties of our samples, dominating over the sea spray aerosol particles in the four cases we analysed, suggesting that mineral dust is a relevant source of INPs in the Alaskan Arctic. Furthermore, the INP concentrations are more consistent with fertile soil dusts that have an ice active biological component than what would be expected for the ice-active mineral K-feldspar alone. While we cannot rule out local high latitude sources of dust, the relatively small size of the mineral dust implies that the dust was from distant sources.

Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin et al.

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Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin et al.

Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin et al.


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Short summary
The sources and concentrations of ice-nucleating particles (INPs) in the Arctic are still poorly understood. Here we report aircraft-based INP concentrations and aerosol composition in the Western North American Arctic. The concentrations of INPs and all aerosol particles were low. The aerosol samples contained mostly sea salt and dust particles. Dust particles were more relevant for the INP concentrations than the sea salt. However, dust alone cannot account for all the measured INPs.