Aerosol-cloud interactions are one of the main uncertainties in climate research. Up to now a lot of research has been conducted on aerosol-cloud interactions in warm clouds. The impact of aerosols on ice or mixed-phase clouds is much less understood. Cirrus clouds in an unpolluted environment are assumed to form mainly via homogeneous freezing. The presence of heterogeneous ice nuclei can lead to earlier ice crystal formation and change the microphysical properties of cirrus clouds. Recent box model studies even suggest that heterogeneous freezing can suppress homogeneous freezing, if several conditions are fulfilled. Most likely this would lead to cirrus clouds containing fewer and larger ice crystals. If homogeneous and heterogeneous freezing compete either freezing mechanism may dominate depending mainly on vertical velocity and number density of ice nuclei. Thus, it is not clear yet how number and size of ice crystals are affected.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.