Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
knocker

Biological ice nucleation initiates hailstone formation

Recommended Posts

 

Abstract

Cloud condensation and ice nuclei in the troposphere are required precursors to cloud and precipitation formation, both of which influence the radiative balance of Earth. The initial stage of hailstone formation (i.e., the embryo) and the subsequent layered growth allow hail to be used as a model for the study of nucleation processes in precipitation. By virtue of the preserved particle and isotopic record captured by hailstones, they represent a unique form of precipitation that allows direct characterization of the particles present during atmospheric ice nucleation. Despite the ecological and economic consequences of hail storms, the dynamics of hailstone nucleation, and thus their formation, are not well understood. Our experiments show that hailstone embryos from three Rocky Mountain storms contained biological ice nuclei capable of freezing water at warm, subzero (°C) temperatures, indicating that biological particles can act as nucleation sites for hailstone formation. These results are corroborated by analysis of δD and δ18O from melted hailstone embryos, which show that the hailstones formed at similarly warm temperatures in situ. Low densities of ice nucleation active abiotic particles were also present in hailstone embryos, but their low concentration indicates they were not likely to have catalyzed ice formation at the warm temperatures determined from water stable isotope analysis. Our study provides new data on ice nucleation occurring at the bottom of clouds, an atmospheric region whose processes are critical to global climate models but which has challenged instrument-based measurements.

 

Synopsis

 

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-11/msu-rms111414.php

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...