Ice Nucleating Particles

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The Significance and Measurement of Ice Nucleating Particles (INPs) in the Atmosphere

Abstract—The paper outlines the significance of ice nucleating particles (INPs) in the atmosphere and collaborative research undertaken and proposed at Leeds University, UK and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Understanding the role of INPs in cloud formation in the troposphere is an essential feature of atmospheric modelling, but is not well researched or understood. It is a branch of atmospheric research that is gaining increasing interest and research funding worldwide. Heterogeneous ice crystal formation in clouds can happen when cloud droplets containing INPs act as surfaces for ice crystal generation and growth. INPs impact cloud properties such as
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These are restrained from dispersing into space by Earth’s gravitational hold. The atmosphere absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, thereby protecting life; and warms the surface by retaining heat - the greenhouse effect. The troposphere, the lowest layer of the atmosphere, contains around 99% of the atmosphere’s water vapour and aerosols (the dispersed fine particles in air) and these dictate cloud formation and can influence local and regional weather conditions. Clouds dictate the prevalence for precipitation in the form of water, snow or hail; they are fundamental to the hydrological cycle. Consequently, besides having a major impact on Earth’s climate, cloud physics has important implications for ecosystems and human health. The frequency, duration and intensity of precipitation events along with infiltration, evaporation, transpiration and run-off at the Earth’s surface dictate the influence on the land, plants and life. Lack of precipitation leads to droughts, desiccation of the ground and dust storms that erode the surface soils and result in crop failures and famine. Heavy precipitation leads to rivers breaking their banks, flooding of land, washing away of productive soils, collapse settlement of sensitive soils and destruction of infrastructure, food shortages and pollution of drinking water. The ground interacts with the atmosphere and the atmosphere influences…show more content…
This is where aerosols come into play; they greatly influence cloud formation. Homogeneous nucleation of water droplets and ice crystals directly from water vapour, without the catalyst of fine aerosol particles, is not possible in the troposphere. Instead, nucleation is largely controlled by heterogeneous nucleation involving the aerosol particles that act as ‘cloud condensation nuclei’ (CCNs) to form liquid cloud droplets, or as ‘ice nucleating particles’ (INP) to form ice particles. Accordingly, aerosol particles strongly affect the properties of clouds, their size, abundance and rate of production, and thus they influence cloud cover, cloud albedo, and cloud

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