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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.

Submitted as: research article 05 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 05 Aug 2019

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

Ice nucleating particles measured in Swiss alpine snow samples are spatially, temporarily and chemically heterogeneous

Killian P. Brennan1, Robert O. David1,a, and Nadine Borduas-Dedekind1,2 Killian P. Brennan et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland
  • 2Institute for Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland
  • anow at: Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, 0315, Norway

Abstract. Ice nucleating particles (INPs) produce ice from supercooled water droplets through heterogeneous freezing in the atmosphere. Since the concentration of ice crystals affects the radiative properties of clouds as well as precipitation, constraining the liquid water to ice ratio could help reduce aerosol-cloud interaction uncertainties. INPs have been collected at the Jungfraujoch research station (at 3500 m a.s.l.) in central Switzerland; yet spatially diverse data on INP occurrence in the Swiss Alps are scarce and remain uncharacterized. We address this scarcity through our Swiss Alpine snow sample study which took place during the winter of 2018. We collected a total of 88 fallen snow samples across the Alps at different locations, altitudes, terrains, times since last snowfall and depths. The INP concentrations were measured using the homebuilt DRoplet Ice Nuclei Counter Zurich (DRINCZ) and were then compared to spatial, meteorological and physiochemical parameters. We also extend an alternative way of displaying frozen fraction (FF) versus temperature data through visualizing freezing temperatures as a boxplot to field collected samples. This plotting method displays the freezing temperature in one dimension, instead of the former two dimensions of FF vs temperature, allowing a condensed display of freezing temperature measurements. In the collected snow samples, large variability in INP occurrence was found, even for samples collected 10 m apart on a plain and 1 m apart in depth. Furthermore, undiluted samples had INP concentrations ranging between 1 and 100 INP ml−1 of snow water over a temperature range of −5 to −19 °C. From this field-collected data set, we parameterize the INP concentrations per milliliter of meltwater as a function of temperature with the following equation c*air (T)=e(−0.7T–7.05), comparing well with previously reported precipitation data presented in Petters and Wright, 2015. When assuming a cloud water content of 0.4 g−3 and a critical INP concentration for glaciation of 10 m−3, the majority of the snow precipitated from clouds with glaciation temperatures between −5 and −20 °C. Based on the observed variability in INP concentrations, we conclude that studies conducted at the high-altitude research station Jungfraujoch are representative for INP measurements in the Swiss Alps. Furthermore, the INP concentration precipitation estimates allow us to extrapolate the concentrations to a cloud frozen fraction. Indeed, this approach for estimating the liquid water to ice ratio in mixed phase clouds compares well with aircraft measurements, ground-based lidar and satellite retrievals of cloud frozen fractions. In all, the generated parameterization for INP concentrations in meltwater could help estimate cloud glaciation temperatures.

Killian P. Brennan et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Killian P. Brennan et al.
Killian P. Brennan et al.
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Short summary
To contribute to our understanding of the liquid water to ice ratio in mixed-phase clouds, this study provides a spatial and temporal dataset of ice nucleating particle (INP) concentrations in meltwater of 88 snow samples across 17 locations in the Swiss Alps. Organic carbon, conductivity and particle size, suggest high heterogeneity of freezing temperatures of the meltwater. The measured INP concentrations provide an estimate of cloud glaciation temperatures important for cloud lifetime.
To contribute to our understanding of the liquid water to ice ratio in mixed-phase clouds, this...