EGU21-7474, updated on 06 Apr 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Ice Nucleating Particles in Southern Chile and their connection to clouds 

Heike Wex1, Xianda Gong1,2, Boris Barja, Patric Seifert, Martin Radenz, Albert Ansmann, Silvia Henning, Farnoush Ataei, and Frank Stratmann
Heike Wex et al.
  • 1Experimental Aerosol and Cloud Microphysics, Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany (
  • 2Center for Aerosol Science and Engineering, Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, USA

Concentrations of atmospheric ice nucleating particles (INP) were obtained from weekly filter samples which were collected from May 2019 until March 2020 in southern Chile. Sampling took place at an altitude of 620m above sea level, on top of Cerro Mirador, a mountain directly to the west of Punta Arenas (53°S, 71°W). Additional aerosol properties such as particle number size distributions were measured as well. In parallel, ground-based remote sensing measurements with lidar and cloud radar were made in Punta Arenas.

INP concentrations were obtained from washing atmospheric aerosol particles off from deployed polycarbonate filters and subsequent analysis of the samples on two different freezing arrays which were used and described by us earlier (e.g., in Gong et al., 2019 and Hartmann et al., 2020). INP concentrations could be obtained over a broad temperature range from above -5°C down to -25°C.

INP concentrations were clearly higher than data obtained for the Southern Ocean region as reported in McCluskey et al. (2018) and Welti et al. (2020). Indeed, they were comparable to concentrations measured at Cape Verde (Gong et al., 2020). INP concentrations obtained during the warm season were spreading over ~ 2 orders of magnitude at any temperature. Data obtained for the cold season almost all were at the upper end of the observed INP concentration range, with only one weekly sample featuring low concentrations.

Heating of the samples was also applied, and the heated samples had clearly lower INP concentrations across the examined temperatures, implying a biological fraction among the INP of ~ 80%. Therefore, local terrestrial sources may be the source of the observed INP.

The assumption of local terrestrial sources is strengthened by a case study. For that, two subsequent samples obtained during the cold season were examined in more detail. These were the one sample with low INP concentrations which was obtained during the cold season during the week from August 14 to August 22, and the subsequent sample collected from August 22 to August 29, which was amongst the highest samples. Backward trajectories together with an analysis of Lidar data showed that the low INP concentrations were obtained for a time during which air masses predominantly came in from the south with little contact to land and for calm weather conditions. Conditions were not as stable during the following week which featured air masses mostly coming in from the north-west. The aerosol backscatter coefficient at the height level of the in-situ measurements was obtained from lidar observations for both weeks and shows about 50 % lower aerosol load for the first week, when INP concentrations were low.

All of this hints to local terrestrial sources for the observed highly ice active biogenic INP.



Gong et al. (2019), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 10883-10900, doi:10.5194/acp-19-10883-2019.

Gong et al. (2020), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 1451-1468, doi:10.5194/acp-20-1451-2020.

Hartmann et al. (2020), Geophys. Res. Lett., 47, doi:10.1029/2020GL087770.

McCluskey et al. (2018), Geophys. Res. Lett., 45, doi:10.1029/2018gl079981.

Welti et a. (2020), Atmos. Chem. Phys. 20, doi:10.5194/acp-2020-466.

How to cite: Wex, H., Gong, X., Barja, B., Seifert, P., Radenz, M., Ansmann, A., Henning, S., Ataei, F., and Stratmann, F.: Ice Nucleating Particles in Southern Chile and their connection to clouds , EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7474,, 2021.

Display materials

Display file

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion