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Clarifying the Dominant Sources and Mechanisms of Cirrus Cloud Formation
Science (2013)
  • Minghui Diao, San Jose State University
Formation of cirrus clouds depends on the availability of ice nuclei to begin condensation of atmospheric water vapor. Although it is known that only a small fraction of atmospheric aerosols are efficient ice nuclei, the critical ingredients that make those aerosols so effective have not been established. We have determined in situ the composition of the residual particles within cirrus crystals after the ice was sublimated. Our results demonstrate that mineral dust and metallic particles are the dominant source of residual particles, whereas sulfate and organic particles are underrepresented, and elemental carbon and biological materials are essentially absent. Further, composition analysis combined with relative humidity measurements suggests that heterogeneous freezing was the dominant formation mechanism of these clouds.
Publication Date
June 14, 2013
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
Minghui Diao. "Clarifying the Dominant Sources and Mechanisms of Cirrus Cloud Formation" Science Vol. 340 Iss. 6138 (2013) p. 1320 - 1324 ISSN: 0036-8075
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