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Homogeneous Ice Nucleation in Subtropical and Tropical Convection and Its...

Heymsfield, A., L. M. Miloshevich, C. Schmitt, A. Bansemer, C. Twohy, M. Poellot, A. M. Fridlind, and H. Gerber (2005), Homogeneous Ice Nucleation in Subtropical and Tropical Convection and Its Influence on Cirrus Anvil Microphysics, J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 41-64.

This study uses a unique set of microphysical measurements obtained in a vigorous, convective updraft core at temperatures between Ϫ33° and Ϫ36°C, together with a microphysical model, to investigate the role of homogeneous ice nucleation in deep tropical convection and how it influences the microphysical properties of the associated cirrus anvils. The core and anvil formed along a sea-breeze front during the Cirrus Regional Study of Tropical Anvils and Cirrus Layers–Florida Area Cirrus Experiment (CRYSTAL–FACE).

The updraft core contained two distinct regions as traversed horizontally: the upwind portion of the core contained droplets of diameter 10–20 ␮m in concentrations of around 100 cmϪ3 with updraft speeds of 5–10 m sϪ1; the downwind portion of the core was glaciated with high concentrations of small ice particles and stronger updrafts of 10–20 m sϪ1. Throughout the core, rimed particles up to 0.6-cm diameter were observed. The anvil contained high concentrations of both small particles and large aggregates.

Thermodynamic analysis suggests that the air sampled in the updraft core was mixed with air from higher altitudes that descended along the upwind edge of the cloud in an evaporatively driven downdraft, introducing free-tropospheric cloud condensation nuclei into the updraft below the aircraft sampling height. Farther downwind in the glaciated portion of the core, the entrained air contained high concentrations of ice particles that inhibit droplet formation and homogeneous nucleation.

Calculations of droplet and ice particle growth and homogeneous ice nucleation are used to investigate the influence of large ice particles lofted in updrafts from lower levels in this and previously studied tropical ice clouds on the homogeneous nucleation process. The preexisting large ice particles act to suppress homogeneous nucleation through competition via diffusional and accretional growth, mainly when the updrafts are Ͻ 5 m sϪ1. In deep convective updrafts Ͼ 5–10 m sϪ1, the anvil is the depository for the small, radiatively important ice particles (homogeneously nucleated) and the large ice particles from below (heterogeneously or secondarily produced, or recycled).

Research Program: 
Radiation Science Program (RSP)