skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: International Workshop on Comparing Ice Nucleation Measuring Systems 2014

The relationship of ambient aerosol particles to the formation of ice-containing clouds is one of the largest uncertainties in understanding the Earth’s climate. The uncertainty is due to several poorly understood processes and measurements including, but not limited to: (1) the microphysics of how particles nucleate ice, (2) the number of ice forming particles as a function of atmospheric properties such as temperature and relative humidity, (3) the atmospheric distribution of ice forming particles and (4) the role of anthropogenic activities in producing or changing the behavior of ice forming particles. The ways in which ice forming particles can impact climate is also multi-faceted. More ice forming particles can lead to clouds with more ice crystals and different optical properties than clouds with less ice forming particles. More effective ice forming particles can lead to ice at higher temperature and/or lower saturation, resulting in clouds at lower altitude or latitude which also changes the Earth’s radiative balance. Ice nucleation also initiates most of the Earth’s precipitation, even in the mid- and low-latitudes, since cloud-top temperatures are often below freezing. The limited measurements and lack of understanding directly translates to restrictions in our ability to model atmospheric ice formation and projectmore » changes into the future. The importance of ice nucleation research is further exemplified by Figure 1 which shows the publications per decade and citations per year on the topic of ice nucleation [DeMott et al., 2011]. After a lull at the end of the last century, there has been a dramatic increase in both publications and citations related to ice nucleation; this directly corresponds to the importance of ice nucleation on the Earth’s climate and the uncertainty in this area noted by the Solomon [2007].« less
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES aerosols; clouds; climate