Wintertime Airborne Measurements of Ice Nucleating Particles in the High Arctic: A Hint to a Marine, Biogenic Source for Ice Nucleating Particles

Andreas.Herber [ at ]


Ice nucleating particles (INPs) affect the radiative properties of cold clouds. Knowledge concerning their concentration above ground level and their potential sources is scarce. Here we present the first highly temperature resolved ice nucleation spectra of airborne samples from an aircraft campaign during late winter in 2018. Most INP spectra featured low concentration levels (<3 · 10−4 L−1 at −15°C). −2 −1 However, we also found INP concentrations of up to 1.8·10 L at −15°C and freezing onsets as high as −7.5°C for samples mainly from the marine boundary layer. Shape and onset temperature of the ice nucleation spectra of those samples as well as heat sensitivity hint at biogenic INP. Colocated measurements additionally indicate a local marine influence rather than long‐range transport. Our results suggest that even in late winter above 80°N a local marine source for biogenic INP, which can efficiently nucleate ice at high temperatures, is present. Clouds are a key factor in the energy budget of the Arctic atmosphere. Ice nucleating particles (INPs) can modify the radiation properties and lifetime of clouds by affecting the relative abundance of liquid and frozen droplets in a cloud. Despite this important ability, knowledge about the INP concentration above ground level is limited as airborne INP measurements are very scarce in the Arctic. Here we present results from an aircraft campaign, which took place during the late winter of 2018 in latitudes above 80°N. We found INP concentrations at above −15°C, which are similar to those found in midlatitudes. These INPs also initiate freezing already at high temperatures. We found indications that the INPs are biogenic and originate from a local, marine source, rather than being transported from midlatitudes into the Arctic. Due to the presence of numerous cracks, open leads and polynyas in the sea ice in the investigation area, the ocean may provide a source for these biogenic INP in an environment, where sources on land are still shrouded in snow and ice. However, in a warming Arctic contributions from different sources might change, making the characterization of the current state important.

Item Type
Primary Division
Primary Topic
Research Networks
Peer revision
ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Eprint ID
DOI 10.1029/2020GL087770

Cite as
Hartmann, M. , Adachi, K. , Eppers, O. , Haas, C. , Herber, A. , Holzinger, R. , Hühnerbein, A. , Jäkel, E. , Jentzsch, C. , van Pinxteren, M. , Wex, H. , Willmes, S. and Stratmann, F. (2020): Wintertime Airborne Measurements of Ice Nucleating Particles in the High Arctic: A Hint to a Marine, Biogenic Source for Ice Nucleating Particles , Geophysical Research Letters, 47 , pp. 1-11 . doi: 10.1029/2020GL087770



Research Platforms


Edit Item Edit Item