Mineral and biological ice-nucleating particles above the South East of the British Isles

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Sanchez-Marroquin, A., West, J. S., Burke, I., McQuaid, J. B. and Murray, B. J. 2021. Mineral and biological ice-nucleating particles above the South East of the British Isles. Environmental science : Atmospheres. 1 (4), pp. 176-191. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1EA00003A.

AuthorsSanchez-Marroquin, A., West, J. S., Burke, I., McQuaid, J. B. and Murray, B. J.

A small fraction of aerosol particles known as Ice-Nucleating Particles (INPs) have the potential to trigger ice formation in cloud droplets at higher temperatures than homogeneous
freezing. INPs can strongly reduce the water content and albedo of shallow mixed-phase clouds and also influences the development of convective clouds. Therefore, it is important
to understand which aerosol types serve as INP and how effectively they nucleate ice. Using a combination of INP measurements and Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy
Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), we both quantify the INP concentrations over a range of activation temperatures and the size-resolved composition. We show that the INP population of aerosol samples collected from an aircraft over the UK during July of 2017 is consistent with ice-nucleation on mineral dust below about –20 oC, but some other INP type must account for ice-nucleation at higher temperatures. Biological aerosol particles above ~2 µm were detected based on visual detection of their morphological features in all the analysed samples in concentrations of at least 10 to 100 L-1 in the boundary layer. We suggest that given the presence of biological material, it could substantially contribute to the enhanced ice-nucleation ability of the samples at above –20 oC. Organic material attached to mineral dust could be responsible for at least part of this enhancement. These results are consistent with a growing body of data which suggests mineral dust alone cannot explain the INP population in the mid-latitude terrestrial atmosphere and that biological ice nucleating particles are most likely important for cloud glaciation.

Year of Publication2021
JournalEnvironmental science : Atmospheres
Journal citation1 (4), pp. 176-191
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1039/D1EA00003A.
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Natural Environment Research Council
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Mar 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted25 Mar 2021
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry (RSC)

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