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Title: Effects of cloud condensation nuclei and ice nucleating particles on precipitation processes and supercooled liquid in mixed-phase orographic clouds

How orographic mixed-phase clouds respond to the change in cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice nucleating particles (INPs) are highly uncertain. The main snow production mechanism in warm and cold mixed-phase orographic clouds (referred to as WMOCs and CMOCs, respectively, distinguished here as those having cloud tops warmer and colder than -20°C) could be very different. We quantify the CCN and INP impacts on supercooled water content, cloud phases, and precipitation for a WMOC case and a CMOC case, with sensitivity tests using the same CCN and INP concentrations between the WMOC and CMOC cases. It was found that deposition plays a more important role than riming for forming snow in the CMOC case, while the role of riming is dominant in the WMOC case. As expected, adding CCN suppresses precipitation, especially in WMOCs and low INPs. However, this reverses strongly for CCN of 1000 cm -3 and larger. We found a new mechanism through which CCN can invigorate mixed-phase clouds over the Sierra Nevada and drastically intensify snow precipitation when CCN concentrations are high (1000 cm -3 or higher). In this situation, more widespread shallow clouds with a greater amount of cloud water form in the Central Valley andmore » foothills west of the mountain range. The increased latent heat release associated with the formation of these clouds strengthens the local transport of moisture to the windward slope, invigorating mixed-phase clouds over the mountains, and thereby producing higher amounts of snow precipitation. Under all CCN conditions, increasing the INPs leads to decreased riming and mixed-phase fraction in the CMOC as a result of liquid-limited conditions, but has the opposite effects in the WMOC as a result of ice-limited conditions. However, precipitation in both cases is increased by increasing INPs due to an increase in deposition for the CMOC but enhanced riming and deposition in the WMOC. Increasing the INPs dramatically reduces supercooled water content and increases the cloud glaciation temperature, while increasing CCN has the opposite effect with much smaller significance.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States). Atmospheric Science & Global Change Division
  2. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). Institute of Earth Sciences
  3. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States). Department of Atmospheric Science
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324; KP1703010
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830; SC0014354
Published Article
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Online); Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7324
European Geosciences Union
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1343173