Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 17299-17326, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Feldspar minerals as efficient deposition ice nuclei
J. D. Yakobi-Hancock, L. A. Ladino, and J. P. D. Abbatt
Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Abstract. Mineral dusts are well known to be efficient ice nuclei, where the source of this efficiency has typically been attributed to the presence of clay minerals such as illite and kaolinite. However, the ice nucleating abilities of the more minor mineralogical components have not been as extensively examined. As a result, the deposition ice nucleation abilities of 24 atmospherically-relevant mineral samples have been studied, using a continuous flow diffusion chamber at −40.0 ± 0.3 °C. The same particle size (200 nm) and particle preparation procedure were used throughout. The ice nucleation behaviour of the pure minerals is compared to that of complex mixtures, such as Arizona Test Dust (ATD) and Mojave Desert Dust (MDD), and to lead iodide, which has been previously proposed for cloud seeding. Lead iodide was the most efficient ice nucleus (IN), requiring a critical relative humidity with respect to ice (RHi) of 122.0 ± 2.0% to activate 0.1% of the particles. MDD (RHi 126.3 ± 3.4%) and ATD (RHi 129.5 ± 5.1%) have lower but comparable activity. From a set of clay minerals (kaolinite, illite, montmorillonite), non-clay minerals (e.g. hematite, magnetite, calcite, cerussite, quartz), and feldspar minerals (orthoclase, plagioclase) present in the atmospheric dusts it was found that the feldspar minerals (particularly orthoclase), and not the clays, were the most efficient ice nuclei. Orthoclase and plagioclase were found to have critical RHi values of 127.1 ± 6.3% and 136.2 ± 1.3%, respectively. The presence of feldspars (specifically orthoclase) may play a significant role in the IN behaviour of mineral dusts despite their lower percentage in composition relative to clay minerals.

Citation: Yakobi-Hancock, J. D., Ladino, L. A., and Abbatt, J. P. D.: Feldspar minerals as efficient deposition ice nuclei, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 17299-17326, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-17299-2013, 2013.
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