Assessment of cloud supersaturation by size-resolved aerosol particle and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) measurements
In this study we show how size-resolved measurements of aerosol particles and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) can be used to characterize the supersaturation of water vapor in a cloud. The method was developed and applied during the ACRIDICON-Zugspitze campaign (17 September to 4 October 2012) at the high-Alpine research station Schneefernerhaus (German Alps, 2650 m a.s.l.). Number size distributions of total and interstitial aerosol particles were measured with a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS), and size-resolved CCN efficiency spectra were recorded with a CCN counter system operated at different supersaturation levels.
During the evolution of a cloud, aerosol particles are exposed to different supersaturation levels. We outline and compare different estimates for the lower and upper bounds ( Slow, Shigh) and the average value ( Savg) of peak supersaturation encountered by the particles in the cloud. A major advantage of the derivation of Slow and Savg from size-resolved CCN efficiency spectra is that it does not require the specific knowledge or assumptions about aerosol hygroscopicity that are needed to derive estimates of Slow, Shigh, and Savg from aerosol size distribution data. For the investigated cloud event, we derived Slow ≈ 0.07–0.25%, Shigh ≈ 0.86–1.31% and Savg ≈ 0.42–0.68%.