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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-2020-361
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-361
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  05 Oct 2020

05 Oct 2020

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This preprint has been withdrawn by the authors.

Development of the drop Freezing Ice Nuclei Counter (FINC), intercomparison of droplet freezing techniques, and use of soluble lignin as an atmospheric ice nucleation standard

Anna J. Miller1,, Killian P. Brennan2,, Claudia Mignani3, Jörg Wieder2, Assaf Zipori4, Robert O. David5, and Nadine Borduas-Dedekind1,2 Anna J. Miller et al.
  • 1Institute for Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8008 Switzerland
  • 2Institute for Atmosphere and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8092 Switzerland
  • 3Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, 4056 Switzerland
  • 4Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, 76100 Israel
  • 5Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, 0315 Norway
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Aerosol-cloud interactions, including the ice nucleation of supercooled liquid water droplets caused by ice nucleating particles (INPs) and macromolecules (INMs), are a source of uncertainty in predicting future climate. Because of INPs' and INMs' spatial and temporal heterogeneity in source, number, and composition, predicting their concentration and distribution is a challenge, requiring apt analytical instrumentation. Here, we present the development of our drop Freezing Ice Nucleation Counter (FINC), a droplet freezing technique (DFT), for the quantification of INP and INM concentrations in the immersion freezing mode. FINC's design builds upon previous DFTs and uses an ethanol bath to cool sample aliquots while detecting freezing using a camera. Specifically, FINC uses 288 sample wells of 5–60 µL volume, has a limit of detection of −25.37 ± 0.15 ˚C with 5 µL, and has an instrument temperature uncertainty of ± 0.5 ˚C. We further conducted freezing control experiments to quantify the non-homogeneous behavior of our developed DFT, including the consideration of eight different sources of contamination.

As part of the validation of FINC, an intercomparison campaign was conducted using an NX-illite suspension and an ambient aerosol sample with two other drop-freezing instruments: ETH's DRoplet Ice Nuclei Counter Zurich (DRINCZ) and University of Basel’s LED-based ice nucleation detection apparatus (LINDA). We also tabulated an exhaustive list of peer-reviewed DFTs, to which we added our characterized and validated FINC.

In addition, we propose herein the use of a water-soluble biopolymer, lignin, as a suitable ice nucleating standard. An ideal INM standard should be inexpensive, accessible, reproducible, unaffected by sample preparation, and consistent across techniques. First, we show that commercial lignin has a consistent ice nucleating activity across product batches. Second, we demonstrate that aqueous lignin solutions exhibit good solution stability over time. Third, we compare its freezing temperature across different drop-freezing instruments, including on DRINCZ, LINDA, and on the Weizmann Institute's Supercooled Droplets Observation on a Microarray (WISDOM) and determine an empirical fit parameter for future drop freezing validations. With these findings, we aim to show that lignin can be used as a good immersion freezing standard in future technique intercomparisons in the field of atmospheric ice nucleation.

This preprint has been withdrawn.

Anna J. Miller et al.

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Development of the drop Freezing Ice Nuclei Counter (FINC), intercomparison of drop freezing instruments, and use of soluble lignin as an atmospheric ice nucleation standard Anna J. Miller, Killian P. Brennan, Claudia Mignani, Jörg Wieder, Assaf Zipori, Robert O. David, and Nadine Borduas-Dedekind https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000438875

Anna J. Miller et al.

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Short summary
For characterizing atmospheric ice nuclei, we present (1) the development of our home-built droplet freezing technique (DFT), the Freezing Ice Nuclei Counter (FINC), (2) an intercomparison campaign using NX-illite and an ambient sample with three DFTs, and (3) the application of lignin as a soluble and commercial ice nuclei standard with four DFTs. We further compiled the growing number of DFTs in use for atmospheric ice nucleation since 2000, to which we add FINC.
For characterizing atmospheric ice nuclei, we present (1) the development of our home-built...
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