Concentration and variability of ice nuclei in the subtropical maritime boundary layer

André Welti, Konrad Müller, Zoë L. Fleming, Frank Stratmann
2018 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Measurements of the concentration and variability of ice nucleating particles in the subtropical maritime boundary layer are reported. Filter samples collected in Cabo Verde over the period 2009–2013 are analyzed with a drop freezing experiment with sensitivity to detect the few rare ice nuclei active at low supercooling. The data set is augmented with continuous flow diffusion chamber measurements at temperatures below −24<span class="thinspace"></span>°C from a
more » ... month field campaign in Cabo Verde in 2016. The data set is used to address the following questions: what are typical concentrations of ice nucleating particles active at a certain temperature? What affects their concentration and where are their sources? Concentration of ice nucleating particles is found to increase exponentially by 7 orders of magnitude from −5 to −38<span class="thinspace"></span>°C. Sample-to-sample variation in the steepness of the increase indicates that particles of different origin, with different ice nucleation properties (size, composition), contribute to the ice nuclei concentration at different temperatures. The concentration of ice nuclei active at a specific temperature varies over a range of up to 4 orders of magnitude. The frequency with which a certain ice nuclei concentration is measured within this range is found to follow a lognormal distribution, which can be explained by random dilution during transport. To investigate the geographic origin of ice nuclei, source attribution of air masses from dispersion modeling is used to classify the data into seven typical conditions. While no source could be attributed to the ice nuclei active at temperatures higher than −12<span class="thinspace"></span>°C, concentrations at lower temperatures tend to be elevated in air masses originating from the Sahara.</p>
doi:10.5194/acp-18-5307-2018 fatcat:44wvuk5ecfhwtkl3l4idgwahei