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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  01 Sep 2020

01 Sep 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

The portable ice nucleation experiment PINE: a new online instrument for laboratory studies and automated long-term field observations of ice-nucleating particles

Ottmar Möhler1, Michael Adams2,, Larissa Lacher1,, Franziska Vogel1,, Jens Nadolny1, Romy Ullrich1, Cristian Boffo3,4, Tatjana Pfeuffer3, Achim Hobl3, Maximilian Weiß5, Hemanth S. K. Vepuri6, Naruki Hiranuma6, and Benjamin J. Murray2 Ottmar Möhler et al.
  • 1Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 3Bilfinger Noell GmbH, Würzburg, Germany
  • 4Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, IL, USA
  • 5Palas GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 6Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences, West Texas A&M University, TX, USA
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Atmospheric ice-nucleating particles (INP) play an important role in determining the phase of clouds, which affects their albedo and lifetime. A lack of data on the spatial and temporal variation of INPs around the globe limits our predictive capacity and understanding of clouds containing ice. Automated instrumentation that can robustly measure INP concentrations across the full range of tropospheric temperatures is needed in order to address this knowledge gap. In this study, we demonstrate the functionality and capacity of the new Portable Ice Nucleation Experiment (PINE) to study ice nucleation processes and to measure INP concentrations under conditions pertinent for mixed-phase clouds, with temperatures from about −10 °C to about −38 °C. PINE is a cloud expansion chamber which avoids frost formation on the cold walls, and thereby omits frost fragmentation and related background ice signals during the operation. The development, working principle, and treatment of data for the PINE instrument is discussed in detail. We present extensive laboratory based tests where PINE measurements were compared with those from the established AIDA (Aerosol Interaction and Dynamics in the Atmosphere) cloud chamber. The results show good agreement of PINE with AIDA for homogeneous freezing of pure water droplets and the immersion freezing activity of mineral aerosols. Results from a first field campaign conducted at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Southern Great Plains (SGP) observatory in Oklahoma, USA, from October 1 to November 14, 2019 with the latest PINE design (a commercially available PINE chamber) are also shown, demonstrating PINE’s ability to make automated field measurements of INP concentrations at high time resolution of about 8 minutes with continuous wall temperature scans between −5 and −35 °C. During this field campaign, PINE was continuously operated for 45 days in a fully automated and semi-autonomous way, demonstrating the capability of this new instrument to be also used for longer term field measurements and INP monitoring activities in observatories.

Ottmar Möhler et al.

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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Ottmar Möhler et al.

Ottmar Möhler et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Earth’s climate is influenced by clouds, which are impacted by ice nucleating particles, a minor fraction of atmospheric aerosols. INPs induce ice formation in clouds and by that often initiate precipitation formation. The Portable Ice Nucleation Experiment PINE is the first fully automated instrument to study cloud ice formation and to obtain long-term records of INPs. This is a timely development and the capabilities it offers for research and atmospheric monitoring are significant.
The Earth’s climate is influenced by clouds, which are impacted by ice nucleating particles, a...