Assessment of Seeding Effects in Snowpack Augmentation Programs: Ice Nucleation and Scavenging of Seeding Aerosols

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  • 1 Desert Research Institute University and Community College System of Nevada. Reno, Nevada
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Abstract

Trace chemical analysis techniques have been used in a series of cloud-seeding experiments in the central Sierra Nevada with the ultimate purpose of distinguishing whether the submicron-sized aerosol particles used for seeding are removed by nucleation or by scavenging in snowfall. The research programs used submicron-sized seeding aerosols with different nucleating characteristics. When winter storms were seeded with silver iodide in the Lake Tahoe and Lake Almanor watersheds, positive correlations were observed between silver concentrations and precipitation amounts in both catchment areas.This is considered to be evidence that the AgI aerosols are not being removed in the snowfall entirely by scavenging processes. When two separate aerosols of silver iodide and indium sesquioxide were released simultaneously from the same ground locations during winter snowstorms in the Lake Almanor watershed, it was found that considerably more of the ice-nucleating aerosol particles (AgI) were removed by the snowfall than the non-ice-nucleating ones (In203). Under the experimental conditions employed, scavenging alone of the two aerosols would lead to a chemical ratio of Ag:In in the snowfall of 0.83:l. Ratios as high as 17.2:l were observed, the mean ratio being 4: I. These results are considered to be evidence of the removal of substantial numbers of the AgI aerosol particles through direct nucleation of ice crystals.

Abstract

Trace chemical analysis techniques have been used in a series of cloud-seeding experiments in the central Sierra Nevada with the ultimate purpose of distinguishing whether the submicron-sized aerosol particles used for seeding are removed by nucleation or by scavenging in snowfall. The research programs used submicron-sized seeding aerosols with different nucleating characteristics. When winter storms were seeded with silver iodide in the Lake Tahoe and Lake Almanor watersheds, positive correlations were observed between silver concentrations and precipitation amounts in both catchment areas.This is considered to be evidence that the AgI aerosols are not being removed in the snowfall entirely by scavenging processes. When two separate aerosols of silver iodide and indium sesquioxide were released simultaneously from the same ground locations during winter snowstorms in the Lake Almanor watershed, it was found that considerably more of the ice-nucleating aerosol particles (AgI) were removed by the snowfall than the non-ice-nucleating ones (In203). Under the experimental conditions employed, scavenging alone of the two aerosols would lead to a chemical ratio of Ag:In in the snowfall of 0.83:l. Ratios as high as 17.2:l were observed, the mean ratio being 4: I. These results are considered to be evidence of the removal of substantial numbers of the AgI aerosol particles through direct nucleation of ice crystals.

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