Effects of aerosol sources and chemical compositions on cloud drop sizes and glaciation temperatures

Assaf Zipori*, Daniel Rosenfeld, Ofir Tirosh, Nadya Teutsch, Yigal Erel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The effect of aerosols on cloud properties, such as its droplet sizes and its glaciation temperatures, depends on their compositions and concentrations. In order to examine these effects,we collected rain samples in northern Israel during five winters (2008-2011 and 2013) and determined their chemical composition, which was later used to identify the aerosols’ sources. By combining the chemical data with satellite-retrieved cloud properties, we linked the aerosol types, sources, and concentrations with the cloud glaciation temperatures (Tg). The presence of dust increased Tg from -26°C to -12°C already at relatively low dust concentrations. This result is in agreement with the conventional wisdom that desert dust serves as good ice nuclei (INs). With higher dust concentrations, Tg saturated at -12°C, even though cloud droplet sizes decreased as a result of the cloud condensation nucleating (CCN) activity of the dust. Marine air masses also encouraged freezing, but in this case, freezing was enhanced by the larger cloud droplet sizes in the air masses (caused by low CCN concentrations) and not by IN concentrations or by aerosol type. An increased fraction of anthropogenic aerosols in marine air masses caused a decrease in Tg, indicating that these aerosols served as poor IN. Anthropogenic aerosols reduced cloud droplet sizes, which further decreased Tg. Our results could be useful in climate models for aerosol-cloud interactions, aswe investigated the effects of aerosols of different sources on cloud properties. Such parameterization can simplify these models substantially.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9653-9669
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2015

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© 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


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