Large Aerosol Particles in Cirrus Type Clouds


Research flights in November 1990 over the central parts of the United States, Wyoming and Colorado, were aimed to the investigation of the properties and microstructure of cirrus clouds (mainly cirrocumulus lenticularis). Among the other parameters measured on board the NCAR Saberliner were the concentration and size distribution of submicron particles and, in some cases, the particle deliquescence. For coarse insoluble particles found inside and outside of cloud elements, size distributions and morphology information were obtained by evaluating inertial impactor samples with an optical microscope and scanning electron microscope. In addition, the coarse particle composition was determined by x-ray energy spectrum analysis. The following conclusions from these measurements are:. The large and coarse particle size distribution can be roughly simulated by a log-normal function with the modus around r=0.5 μm. Particle concentrations are very variable between several tenths and several particles per cm3. Particle volume distribution features a distinct maximum around 0.75 μm without a broad plateau which was observed in the case of sampling at lower altitude. Aerosol composition heterogeneity at cirrus cloud level is well documented by the evaluation of the fine particle sampling taken with the UMR sampling system. This heterogeneity can be partly explained by the interaction between aerosol and cloud elements, which is documented by the measured particle size distribution curves inside and outside of cloud elements. Assuming that particle deliquescence is caused by H2SO4 and/or by (NH4)2SO4, particle soluble mass fractions were found to be around 30% in the first case and about 40% in the second. The most frequently occurring elements in large and coarse particles at cirrus cloud level were Si, Cl, Ba, S, Ca and C.



Keywords and Phrases

Aerosol Particle; Cirrus; Particle Size Distribution

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Article - Journal

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© 1995 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 1995