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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 30 Nov 2017

Research article | 30 Nov 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

On the Thermodynamic and Dynamic Aspects of Immersion Ice Nucleation

Donifan Barahona Donifan Barahona
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA

Abstract. Heterogeneous ice nucleation initiated by particles immersed within droplets is likely the main pathway of ice formation in the atmosphere. Theoretical models commonly used to describe this process assume that it mimics ice formation from the vapor, neglecting interactions unique to the liquid phase. This work introduces a new approach that accounts for such interactions by linking the ability of particles to promote ice formation to the modification of the properties of water near the particle-liquid interface. It is shown that the same mechanism that lowers the thermodynamic barrier for ice nucleation also tends to decrease the mobility of water molecules, hence the ice-liquid interfacial flux. Heterogeneous ice nucleation in the liquid phase is thus determined by the competition between thermodynamic and kinetic constraints to the formation and propagation of ice. At the limit, ice nucleation may be mediated by the dynamics of vicinal water instead of the nucleation work. This new ice nucleation regime is termed spinodal ice nucleation. Comparison of predicted nucleation rates against published data suggests that some materials of atmospheric relevance may nucleate ice in this regime.

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Donifan Barahona
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Donifan Barahona
Donifan Barahona
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Short summary
A model for ice formation mediated by particles immersed within droplets is developed. It ascribes the enhancement of ice nucleation by the particle to the modification of the properties of the adjacent water instead of the adsorption of water molecules on the particle surface. A new regime where ice nucleation is mediated by dynamics instead of thermodynamics is discovered.
A model for ice formation mediated by particles immersed within droplets is developed. It...