Research Data Leeds Repository

A major combustion aerosol event had a negligible impact on the atmospheric ice-nucleating particle population

Adams, Michael and Tarn, Mark D. and Sanchez-Marroquin, Alberto and Porter, Grace and O’Sullivan, Daniel and Harrison, Alexander and Cui, Zhiqiang and Vergara-Temprado, Jesús and Carotenuto, Federico and Holden, Mark D. and Daily, Martin and Whale, Thomas and Sikora, Sebastien and Burke, Ian and Shim, Jung-uk and McQuaid, James and Murray, Benjamin J. (2020) A major combustion aerosol event had a negligible impact on the atmospheric ice-nucleating particle population. University of Leeds. [Dataset]

Dataset description

Clouds containing supercooled water are important for both climate and weather, but our knowledge of which aerosol particle types nucleate ice in these clouds is far from complete. Combustion aerosols have strong anthropogenic sources and if these aerosol types were to nucleate ice in clouds they might exert a climate forcing. Here, we quantified the atmospheric ice-nucleating particle (INP) concentrations during the UK’s annual Bonfire Night celebrations, which are characterised by strong anthropogenic emissions of combustion aerosol. We used three immersion mode techniques covering more than six orders of magnitude in INP concentration over the temperature range from −10 °C to homogeneous freezing. We found no observable systematic change in the INP concentration on three separate nights, despite more than a factor of 10 increase in aerosol number concentrations, up to a factor of 10 increase in PM10 concentration and more than a factor of 100 increase in black carbon (BC) mass concentration relative to pre-event levels. This implies that BC and other combustion aerosol such as ash did not compete with the INPs present in the background air. Furthermore, the upper limit of the ice-active site surface density, ns(T), of BC was shown to be consistent with several other recent laboratory studies, showing a very low ice-nucleating activity of BC. We conclude that combustion aerosol particles similar to those emitted on Bonfire Night are at most of secondary importance for the INP population relevant for mixed-phase clouds in typical mid-latitude terrestrial locations.

Keywords: Ice nucleation, clouds and aerosol, climate, cloud phase, super-cooled droplets, black carbon, Bonfire night
Divisions: Faculty of Environment > School of Earth and Environment > Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Date deposited: 14 Oct 2020 10:33




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