Atmospheric Concentrations of Submicron Contact-freezing Nuclei

Terry Deshler Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

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Gabor Vali Department of Atmospheric Science, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming

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Abstract

Atmospheric concentrations of contact-freezing nuclei were measured using a technique primarily sensitive to submicron aerosol particles. Diffusion and phoretic forces were relied on for the capture of nuclei by supercooled drops of distilled water exposed to the sample air. Nucleus concentrations were deduced from the rate at which the drops were observed to freeze, interpreting that rate on the basis of a theoretical prediction of aerosol capture rate for different assumed sizes of the nuclei. Measurements at Laramie, Wyoming, yielded average concentrations of contact-freezing nuclei of 1.7 L−1 at −15°C and 3.1 L−1 at −18°C for an assumed radius of 0.01 μm for the nucleating particles.

Abstract

Atmospheric concentrations of contact-freezing nuclei were measured using a technique primarily sensitive to submicron aerosol particles. Diffusion and phoretic forces were relied on for the capture of nuclei by supercooled drops of distilled water exposed to the sample air. Nucleus concentrations were deduced from the rate at which the drops were observed to freeze, interpreting that rate on the basis of a theoretical prediction of aerosol capture rate for different assumed sizes of the nuclei. Measurements at Laramie, Wyoming, yielded average concentrations of contact-freezing nuclei of 1.7 L−1 at −15°C and 3.1 L−1 at −18°C for an assumed radius of 0.01 μm for the nucleating particles.

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