Increased ionization supports growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei.
ABSTRACT: Ions produced by cosmic rays have been thought to influence aerosols and clouds. In this study, the effect of ionization on the growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei is investigated theoretically and experimentally. We show that the mass-flux of small ions can constitute an important addition to the growth caused by condensation of neutral molecules. Under atmospheric conditions the growth from ions can constitute several percent of the neutral growth. We performed experimental studies which quantify the effect of ions on the growth of aerosols between nucleation and sizes >20?nm and find good agreement with theory. Ion-induced condensation should be of importance not just in Earth's present day atmosphere for the growth of aerosols into cloud condensation nuclei under pristine marine conditions, but also under elevated atmospheric ionization caused by increased supernova activity.
Project description:Cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) number concentrations alongside with submicrometer particle number size distributions and particle chemical composition have been measured at atmospheric observatories of the Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research InfraStructure (ACTRIS) as well as other international sites over multiple years. Here, harmonized data records from 11 observatories are summarized, spanning 98,677 instrument hours for CCN data, 157,880 for particle number size distributions, and 70,817 for chemical composition data. The observatories represent nine different environments, e.g., Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean maritime, boreal forest, or high alpine atmospheric conditions. This is a unique collection of aerosol particle properties most relevant for studying aerosol-cloud interactions which constitute the largest uncertainty in anthropogenic radiative forcing of the climate. The dataset is appropriate for comprehensive aerosol characterization (e.g., closure studies of CCN), model-measurement intercomparison and satellite retrieval method evaluation, among others. Data have been acquired and processed following international recommendations for quality assurance and have undergone multiple stages of quality assessment.
Project description:Dimethyl sulfide (DMS), emitted from the oceans, is the most abundant biological source of sulfur to the marine atmosphere. Atmospheric DMS is oxidized to condensable products that form secondary aerosols that affect Earth's radiative balance by scattering solar radiation and serving as cloud condensation nuclei. We report the atmospheric discovery of a previously unquantified DMS oxidation product, hydroperoxymethyl thioformate (HPMTF, HOOCH2SCHO), identified through global-scale airborne observations that demonstrate it to be a major reservoir of marine sulfur. Observationally constrained model results show that more than 30% of oceanic DMS emitted to the atmosphere forms HPMTF. Coincident particle measurements suggest a strong link between HPMTF concentration and new particle formation and growth. Analyses of these observations show that HPMTF chemistry must be included in atmospheric models to improve representation of key linkages between the biogeochemistry of the ocean, marine aerosol formation and growth, and their combined effects on climate.
Project description:The growth of freshly formed aerosol particles can be the bottleneck in their survival to cloud condensation nuclei. It is therefore crucial to understand how particles grow in the atmosphere. Insufficient experimental data has impeded a profound understanding of nano-particle growth under atmospheric conditions. Here we study nano-particle growth in the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoors Droplets) chamber, starting from the formation of molecular clusters. We present measured growth rates at sub-3?nm sizes with different atmospherically relevant concentrations of sulphuric acid, water, ammonia and dimethylamine. We find that atmospheric ions and small acid-base clusters, which are not generally accounted for in the measurement of sulphuric acid vapour, can participate in the growth process, leading to enhanced growth rates. The availability of compounds capable of stabilizing sulphuric acid clusters governs the magnitude of these effects and thus the exact growth mechanism. We bring these observations into a coherent framework and discuss their significance in the atmosphere.
Project description:Hygroscopic growth and cloud condensation nuclei activation are key processes for accurately modeling the climate impacts of organic particulate matter. Nevertheless, the microphysical mechanisms of these processes remain unresolved. Here we report complex thermodynamic behaviors, including humidity-dependent hygroscopicity, diameter-dependent cloud condensation nuclei activity, and liquid-liquid phase separation in the laboratory for biogenically derived secondary organic material representative of similar atmospheric organic particulate matter. These behaviors can be explained by the non-ideal mixing of water with hydrophobic and hydrophilic organic components. The non-ideality-driven liquid-liquid phase separation further enhances water uptake and induces lowered surface tension at high relative humidity, which result in a lower barrier to cloud condensation nuclei activation. By comparison, secondary organic material representing anthropogenic sources does not exhibit complex thermodynamic behavior. The combined results highlight the importance of detailed thermodynamic representations of the hygroscopicity and cloud condensation nuclei activity in models of the Earth's climate system.
Project description:Aerosols can act as cloud condensation nuclei and/or ice-nucleating particles (INPs), influencing cloud properties. In particular, INPs show a variety of different and complex mechanisms when interacting with water during the freezing process. To gain a fundamental understanding of the heterogeneous freezing mechanisms, studies with proxies for atmospheric INPs must be performed. Graphene and its derivatives offer suitable model systems for soot particles, which are ubiquitous aerosols in the atmosphere. In this work, we present an investigation of the ice nucleation activity (INA) of different types of graphene and graphene oxides. Immersion droplet freezing experiments as well as additional analytical analyses, such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and transmission electron microscopy, were performed. We show within a group of samples that a highly ordered graphene lattice (Raman G band intensity >50%) can support ice nucleation more effectively than a lowly ordered graphene lattice (Raman G band intensity <20%). Ammonia-functionalized graphene revealed the highest INA of all samples. Atmospheric ammonia is known to play a primary role in the formation of secondary particulate matter, forming ammonium-containing aerosols. The influence of functionalization on interactions between the particle interface and water molecules, as well as on hydrophobicity and agglomeration processes, is discussed.
Project description:Artificial rainmaking is in strong demand especially in arid regions. Traditional methods of seeding various Cloud Condensation Nuclei (CCN) into the clouds are costly and not environment friendly. Possible solutions based on ionization were proposed more than 100 years ago but there is still a lack of convincing verification or evidence. In this report, we demonstrated for the first time the condensation and precipitation (or snowfall) induced by a corona discharge inside a cloud chamber. Ionic wind was found to have played a more significant role than ions as extra CCN. In comparison with another newly emerging femtosecond laser filamentation ionization method, the snow precipitation induced by the corona discharge has about 4 orders of magnitude higher wall-plug efficiency under similar conditions.
Project description:Atmospheric aerosols play an important role in the formation of warm clouds by acting as efficient cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and their interactions are believed to cool the Earth-Atmosphere system ('first indirect effect or Twomey effect') in a highly uncertain manner compared to the other forcing agents. Here we demonstrate using long-term (2003-2016) satellite observations (NASA's A-train satellite constellations) over the northern Indian Ocean, that enhanced aerosol loading (due to anthropogenic emissions) can reverse the first indirect effect significantly. In contrast to Twomey effect, a statistically significant increase in cloud effective radius (CER, µm) is observed with respect to an increase in aerosol loading for clouds having low liquid water path (LWP?<?75 g m-2) and drier cloud tops. Probable physical mechanisms for this effect are the intense competition for available water vapour due to higher concentrations of anthropogenic aerosols and entrainment of dry air on cloud tops. For such clouds, cloud water content showed a negative response to cloud droplet number concentrations and the estimated intrinsic radiative effect suggest a warming at the Top of the Atmosphere. Although uncertainties exist in quantifying aerosol-cloud interactions (ACI) using satellite observations, present study indicates the physical existence of anti-Twomey effect over the northern Indian Ocean during south Asian outflow.
Project description:Cloud droplet formation depends on the condensation of water vapor on ambient aerosols, the rate of which is strongly affected by the kinetics of water uptake as expressed by the condensation (or mass accommodation) coefficient, ?c. Estimates of ?c for droplet growth from activation of ambient particles vary considerably and represent a critical source of uncertainty in estimates of global cloud droplet distributions and the aerosol indirect forcing of climate. We present an analysis of 10 globally relevant data sets of cloud condensation nuclei to constrain the value of ?c for ambient aerosol. We find that rapid activation kinetics (?c > 0.1) is uniformly prevalent. This finding resolves a long-standing issue in cloud physics, as the uncertainty in water vapor accommodation on droplets is considerably less than previously thought.
Project description:Particles formed in the atmosphere via nucleation provide about half the number of atmospheric cloud condensation nuclei, but in many locations, this process is limited by the growth of the newly formed particles. That growth is often via condensation of organic vapors. Identification of these vapors and their sources is thus fundamental for simulating changes to aerosol-cloud interactions, which are one of the most uncertain aspects of anthropogenic climate forcing. Here we present direct molecular-level observations of a distribution of organic vapors in a forested environment that can explain simultaneously observed atmospheric nanoparticle growth from 3 to 50?nm. Furthermore, the volatility distribution of these vapors is sufficient to explain nanoparticle growth without invoking particle-phase processes. The agreement between observed mass growth, and the growth predicted from the observed mass of condensing vapors in a forested environment thus represents an important step forward in the characterization of atmospheric particle growth.
Project description:Aerosols affect climate by modifying cloud properties through their role as cloud condensation nuclei or ice nuclei, called aerosol-cloud interactions. In most global climate models (GCMs), the aerosol-cloud interactions are represented by empirical parameterisations, in which the mass of cloud liquid water (LWP) is assumed to increase monotonically with increasing aerosol loading. Recent satellite observations, however, have yielded contradictory results: LWP can decrease with increasing aerosol loading. This difference implies that GCMs overestimate the aerosol effect, but the reasons for the difference are not obvious. Here, we reproduce satellite-observed LWP responses using a global simulation with explicit representations of cloud microphysics, instead of the parameterisations. Our analyses reveal that the decrease in LWP originates from the response of evaporation and condensation processes to aerosol perturbations, which are not represented in GCMs. The explicit representation of cloud microphysics in global scale modelling reduces the uncertainty of climate prediction.