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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Apr 2019

Research article | 12 Apr 2019

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

The ice-nucleating ability of quartz immersed in water and its atmospheric importance compared to K-feldspar

Alexander D. Harrison1, Katherine Lever1, Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin1, Mark A. Holden1,2,a, Thomas F. Whale1,2, Mark D. Tarn1, James B. McQuaid1, and Benjamin J. Murray1 Alexander D. Harrison et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2School of Chemistry, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • anow at: School ofPhysical Sciences and Computing, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK

Abstract. Mineral dust particles are thought to be an important type of ice-nucleating particle (INP) in the mixed-phase cloud regime around the globe. While K-feldspar has been identified as being a particularly important component of mineral dust for ice nucleation, it has been shown that quartz is also relatively ice nucleation active. Given quartz typically makes up a substantial proportion of atmospheric desert dust it could potentially be important for cloud glaciation. Here, we survey the ice-nucleating ability of 10 α-quartz samples (the most common quartz polymorph) when immersed in microlitre supercooled water droplets. Despite all samples being α-quartz, the temperature at which they induce freezing varies by around 12 °C for a constant active site density. We find that some quartz samples are very sensitive to ageing in both aqueous suspension and air, resulting in a loss of ice-nucleating activity, while other samples are insensitive to exposure to air and water over many months. The sensitivity to water and air is perhaps surprising as quartz is thought of as a chemically resistant material, but this observation suggests that the active sites responsible for nucleation are less stable than the bulk of the material. We find that the quartz group of minerals are generally less active than K-feldspars, although the most active quartz samples are of a similar activity to some K-feldspars. We also find that the quartz samples are generally more active than the plagioclase feldspar group of minerals and the albite end-member has an intermediate activity. Using both the new and literature data, active site density parameterisations have been proposed for quartz, K-feldspar, plagioclase and albite. Combining these parameterisations with the typical atmospheric abundance of each mineral and comparing the results with atmospheric ice-nucleating particle concentrations, supports previous work that suggests that K-feldspar dominates, rather than quartz (or other minerals), the ice nucleation particle population in desert dust aerosol.

Alexander D. Harrison et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Alexander D. Harrison et al.
Alexander D. Harrison et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Mineral dusts are a source of ice-nucleating particles (INP) in the atmosphere. Here we present a comprehensive survey of the ice-nucleating ability of naturally occurring quartz. We show the ice-nucleating variability of quartz and its sensitivity to time spent in water and air. We propose four new parameterisations for the minerals quartz, K-feldspar, albite and plagioclase to predict INP concentrations in the atmosphere and show that K-feldspar is the dominant INP type in mineral dusts.
Mineral dusts are a source of ice-nucleating particles (INP) in the atmosphere. Here we present...