Influence of surface morphology on the immersion mode ice nucleation efficiency of hematite particles
In this paper, the effect of the morphological modification of aerosol particles with respect to heterogeneous ice nucleation is comprehensively investigated for laboratory-generated hematite particles as a model substrate for atmospheric dust particles. The surface-area-scaled ice nucleation efficiencies of monodisperse cubic hematite particles and milled hematite particles were measured with a series of expansion cooling experiments using the Aerosol Interaction and Dynamics in the Atmosphere (AIDA) cloud simulation chamber. Complementary offline characterization of physico-chemical properties of both hematite subsets were also carried out with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and an electro-kinetic particle charge detector to further constrain droplet-freezing measurements of hematite particles. Additionally, an empirical parameterization derived from our laboratory measurements was implemented in the single-column version of the Community Atmospheric Model version 5 (CAM5) to investigate the model sensitivity in simulated ice crystal number concentration on different ice nucleation efficiencies. From an experimental perspective, our results show that the immersion mode ice nucleation efficiency of milled hematite particles is almost an order of magnitude higher at −35.2 °C < T < −33.5 °C than that of the cubic hematite particles, indicating a substantial effect of morphological irregularities on immersion mode freezing. Our modeling results similarly show that the increased droplet-freezing rates of milled hematite particles lead to about one order magnitude higher ice crystal number in the upper troposphere than cubic hematite particles. Overall, our results suggest that the surface irregularities and associated active sites lead to greater ice activation through droplet freezing.