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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
23 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Global relevance of marine organic aerosols as ice nucleating particles
Wan Ting Katty Huang1, Luisa Ickes2,a, Ina Tegen3, Matteo Rinaldi4, Darius Ceburnis5, and Ulrike Lohmann1 1Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
2Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
3Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Leipzig, Germany
4Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Bologna, Italy
5School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
anow at: Department of Meteorology, Stockholm University, Sweden
Abstract. Ice nucleating particles (INPs) lower the supersaturation required and/or increase the temperature at which supercooled droplets start to freeze. They are therefore of particular interest in mixed-phase temperature regimes, where supercooled liquid droplets can persist for extended periods of time in the absence of INPs. When INPs are introduced to such an environment, the cloud can quickly glaciate following the Wegener-Bergeron-Findeisen process and possibly precipitate out, altering its radiative properties.

Despite their potential influence on climate, the ice nucleation ability and importance of different aerosol species is still not well understood and is a field of active research. In this study we used the aerosol-climate model ECHAM-HAM to examine the global relevance of marine organic aerosols (MOA), which have drawn much interest in recent years as a potentially important INP in remote marine regions. We address the uncertainties in emission and ice nucleation activity of MOA with a range of reasonable set-ups and find a wide range of resulting MOA burdens. The relative importance of MOA as an INP compared to dust is investigated and found to depend strongly on the type of ice nucleation parametrisation scheme chosen. Regardless, MOA was not found to affect the microphysical properties of clouds or the radiative balance significantly, due to its relatively weak ice activity and a low sensitivity of cloud ice properties to heterogeneous ice nucleation in our model.

Citation: Huang, W. T. K., Ickes, L., Tegen, I., Rinaldi, M., Ceburnis, D., and Lohmann, U.: Global relevance of marine organic aerosols as ice nucleating particles, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Wan Ting Katty Huang et al.
Wan Ting Katty Huang et al.
Wan Ting Katty Huang et al.


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Short summary
In this study we investigated the potential impact on clouds and climate of small organic particles from the ocean surface, using a global climate model. These particles have previously been found to promote ice crystal formation, which may alter the properties of clouds. Our study, however, found no significant global impact of these particles, which brings into question their relative importance and points to the need for further verification with other models and at more regional scales.
In this study we investigated the potential impact on clouds and climate of small organic...