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Understanding Cirrus Ice Crystal Number Variability for Different Heterogeneous Ice Nucleation Spectra : Volume 15, Issue 15 (11/08/2015)

By Sullivan, S. C.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003997029
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 41
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Understanding Cirrus Ice Crystal Number Variability for Different Heterogeneous Ice Nucleation Spectra : Volume 15, Issue 15 (11/08/2015)  
Author: Sullivan, S. C.
Volume: Vol. 15, Issue 15
Language: English
Subject: Science, Atmospheric, Chemistry
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Nenes, A., Betancourt, R. M., Barahona, D., & Sullivan, S. C. (2015). Understanding Cirrus Ice Crystal Number Variability for Different Heterogeneous Ice Nucleation Spectra : Volume 15, Issue 15 (11/08/2015). Retrieved from

Description: Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA. Along with minimizing parameter uncertainty, understanding the cause of temporal and spatial variability of nucleated ice crystal number, Ni, is key to improving the representation of cirrus clouds in climate models. To this end, sensitivities of Ni to input variables like aerosol number and diameter provide valuable information about nucleation regime and efficiency for a given model formulation. Here we use the adjoint model of the Barahona and Nenes cirrus formation parameterization to understand Ni variability for various ice-nucleating particle (INP) spectra. Inputs are generated with the Community Atmosphere Model version 5, and simulations are done with a theoretically-derived spectrum, a lab-based empirical spectrum, and two field-based empirical spectra that differ in the nucleation threshold for black carbon aerosol and in the active site density for dust. The magnitude and sign of Ni sensitivity to insoluble aerosol number can be directly linked to nucleation regime and efficiency of various INP. The lab-based spectrum calculates much higher INP efficiencies than field-based ones, which reveals a disparity in aerosol surface properties. Ni sensitivity to temperature tends to be low, due to the compensating effects of temperature on INP spectrum parameters; this low temperature sensitivity regime has been experimentally reported before but never unraveled as done here.

Understanding cirrus ice crystal number variability for different heterogeneous ice nucleation spectra

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