Chemical characterization of individual particles and residuals of cloud droplets and ice crystals collected on board research aircraft in the ISDAC 2008 study Academic Article uri icon


  • Ambient particles and the dry residuals of mixed-phase cloud droplets and ice crystals were collected during the Indirect and Semi-Direct Aerosol Campaign (ISDAC) near Barrow, Alaska, in spring of 2008. The collected particles were analyzed using Computer Controlled Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis and Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscopy coupled with Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure spectroscopy to identify physico-chemical properties that differentiate cloud-nucleating particles from the total aerosol population. A wide range of individually mixed components was identified in the ambient particles and residuals including organic carbon compounds, inorganics, carbonates, and black carbon. Our results show that cloud droplet residuals differ from the ambient particles in both size and composition, suggesting that both properties may impact the cloud-nucleating ability of aerosols in mixed-phase clouds. The percentage of residual particles which contained carbonates (47%) was almost four times higher than those in ambient samples. Residual populations were also enhanced in sea salt and black carbon and reduced in organic compounds relative to the ambient particles. Further, our measurements suggest that chemical processing of aerosols may improve their cloud-nucleating ability. Comparison of results for various time periods within ISDAC suggests that the number and composition of cloud-nucleating particles over Alaska can be influenced by episodic events bringing aerosols from both the local vicinity and as far away as Siberia. Key Points Cloud droplet residuals differ from ambient particles in size and composition. Aerosol size and composition influence aerosol's ability to act as cloud nuclei. Sources of aerosol over Alaska include both local and long range sources. 2013. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Hiranuma, N., Brooks, S. D., Moffet, R. C., Glen, A., Laskin, A., Gilles, M. K., ... McFarquhar, G. M.

citation count

  • 55

complete list of authors

  • Hiranuma, N||Brooks, SD||Moffet, RC||Glen, A||Laskin, A||Gilles, MK||Liu, P||Macdonald, AM||Strapp, JW||McFarquhar, GM

publication date

  • January 2013