Laboratory studies of ice nucleation in sulfate particles: Implications for cirrus clouds

Prenni, Anthony J.; Wise, Matthew; Brooks, Sarah; Tolbert, Margaret A.
August 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 534 Issue 1, p471
Academic Journal
In the laboratory, we have used FTIR spectroscopy to monitor ice nucleation from atmospherically relevant compositions of sulfate particles. Measured freezing temperatures are presented as a function of aerosol composition. We find that sulfuric acid solution aerosol exhibits greater supercooling than ammonium sulfate solution aerosol of similar weight percent. Ice saturation ratios based on these measurements are also reported. We find that ammonium sulfate solution aerosol exhibits a relatively constant ice saturation of S ∼ 1.48 for ice nucleation from 232 to 222 K, while sulfuric acid solution aerosol shows an increase in ice saturation from S ∼ 1.53 to S ∼ 1.6 as temperature decreases from 220 K to 200 K. These high saturation ratios imply that ice nucleation from sulfate aerosols will favor the formation of a small number of large ice particles, in agreement with many observations of cirrus clouds.


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