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Formation of ice in Earth's atmosphere at temperatures above approximately −20 °C is one of the outstanding problems in cloud physics. Contact nucleation has been suggested as a possible mechanism for freezing at relatively high temperatures; some laboratory experiments have shown contact freezing activity at temperatures as high as −4 °C. We have investigated Arizona Test Dust and kaolinite as contact nuclei as a function of size and temperature and find that the fraction of submicron particles that are active as contact ice nuclei is less than 10−3 for −18 °C and greater. We also find that the different dusts are quite distinct in their effectiveness as contact nuclei; Arizona Test Dust catalyzed freezing in the contact mode at all mobility diameters we tested at −18 °C whereas kaolinite triggered freezing only for mobility diameters of 1000 and 500 nm at that temperature.

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© Author(s) 2012. Publisher's version of record:

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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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