Development of the drop Freezing Ice Nuclei Counter (FINC), intercomparison of droplet freezing techniques, and use of soluble lignin as an atmospheric ice nucleation standard

Miller, Anna J. and Brennan, Killian P. and Mignani, Claudia and Wieder, Jörg and David, Robert O. and Borduas-Dedekind, Nadine. (2021) Development of the drop Freezing Ice Nuclei Counter (FINC), intercomparison of droplet freezing techniques, and use of soluble lignin as an atmospheric ice nucleation standard. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 14 (4). pp. 3131-3151.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/83020/

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Aerosol-cloud interactions, including the ice nucleation of supercooled liquid water droplets caused by ice-nucleating particles (INPs) and macromolecules (INMs), are a source of uncertainty in predicting future climate. Because INPs and INMs have spatial and temporal heterogeneity in source, number, and composition, predicting their concentration and distribution is a challenge requiring apt analytical instrumentation. Here, we present the development of our drop Freezing Ice Nuclei Counter (FINC) for the estimation of INP and INM concentrations in the immersion freezing mode. FINC's design builds upon previous droplet freezing techniques (DFTs) and uses an ethanol bath to cool sample aliquots while detecting freezing using a camera. Specifically, FINC uses 288 sample wells of 5-60 mu L volume, has a limit of detection of − 25.4 ± 0.2 degrees C with 5 mu L, and has an instrument temperature uncertainty of ± 0.5 degrees C. We further conducted freezing control experiments to quantify the nonhomogeneous behavior of our developed DFT, including the consideration of eight different sources of contamination. As part of the validation of FINC, an intercomparison campaign was conducted using an NX-illite suspension and an ambient aerosol sample from two other drop freezing instruments: ETH's DRoplet Ice Nuclei Counter Zurich (DRINCZ) and the University of Basel's LED-based Ice Nucleation Detection Apparatus (LINDA). We also tabulated an exhaustive list of peer-reviewed DFTs, to which we added our characterized and validated FINC. In addition, we propose herein the use of a water-soluble biopolymer, lignin, as a suitable ice-nucleating standard. An ideal INM standard should be inexpensive, accessible, reproducible, unaffected by sample preparation, and consistent across techniques. First, we compared lignin's freezing temperature across different drop freezing instruments, including on DRINCZ and LINDA, and then determined an empirical fit parameter for future drop freezing validations. Subsequently, we showed that commercial lignin has consistent ice-nucleating activity across product batches and demonstrated that the ice-nucleating ability of aqueous lignin solutions is stable over time. With these findings, we present lignin as a good immersion freezing standard for future DFT intercomparisons in the research field of atmospheric ice nucleation.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Umweltgeowissenschaften (Alewell)
UniBasel Contributors:Mignani, Claudia
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:European Geosciences Union
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:06 Sep 2021 15:29
Deposited On:06 Sep 2021 15:28

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