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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-306
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-306
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 Aug 2020

18 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Continuous online-monitoring of Ice Nucleating Particles: development of the automated Horizontal Ice Nucleation Chamber (HINC-Auto)

Cyril Brunner and Zamin A. Kanji Cyril Brunner and Zamin A. Kanji
  • Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH, Zurich, 8092, Switzerland

Abstract. The incomplete understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions introduces large uncertainties when simulating the cloudradiative forcing in climate models. The physical and optical properties of a cloud, as well as the evolution of precipitation, are strong functions of the cloud hydrometeor phase. Aerosol particles support the phase transition of water in the atmosphere from a meta-stable to a thermodynamically preferred, stable phase. In the troposphere, the transition of liquid droplets to ice crystals in clouds, via ice nucleating particles (INPs) which make up only a tiny fraction of all tropospheric aerosol, is of particular relevance. For accurate cloud modeling in climate projections, the parameterization of cloud processes and information such as the concentrations of atmospheric INPs are needed. Presently, no continuous real-time INP counter is available and the data acquisition still requires a human operator. To address this restriction, we developed HINC-Auto, a fully automatedonline INP counter, by adapting an existing custom-built instrument, the Horizontal Ice Nucleation Chamber. HINC-Auto was able to autonomously sample INPs in the immersion mode at a temperature of 243 K and a water saturation ratio of 1.04 for 97 % of the time for 90 consecutive days. Here we present the technical setup used to acquire automation, discuss improvements to the the experimental precision and sampling time, and validate the instrument performance. In the future, the chamber will allow a detailed temporal analysis (including seasonal and annual variability) of ambient INP concentrations observing repeated meteorological phenomena compared to previous episodic events detected during campaigns. In addition, by deploying multiple chambers at different locations, a spatio-temporal variability of INPs at any sampling site used for monitoring INP analysis can be achieved for temperatures ≤ 243 K.

Cyril Brunner and Zamin A. Kanji

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Cyril Brunner and Zamin A. Kanji

Cyril Brunner and Zamin A. Kanji

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Latest update: 17 Sep 2020
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Short summary
sub-visual microscopic particles in the atmosphere are needed to act as seeds for cloud droplets or ice crystals to form. The microscopic particles, called ice nucleating particles (INPs) responsible for forming ice crystals are rare and their properties are not well understood, in part because measuring them is challenging and time consuming, and to date has not been automated. Here we present the first online instrument that can continuously and autonomously measure INP concentration at 243 K.
sub-visual microscopic particles in the atmosphere are needed to act as seeds for cloud droplets...
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