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Bacterial ice nuclei impact cloud lifetime and radiative properties and reduce atmospheric heat loss in the BRAMS simulation model

Abstract : This study examines the effect of the bacterial species Pseudomonas syringae acting as ice nuclei (IN) on cloud properties to understand its impact on local radiative budget and heating rates. These bacteria may become active IN at temperatures as warm as - 2 degrees C. Numerical simulations were developed using the Brazilian Regional Atmospheric Model System (BRAMS). To investigate the isolated effect of bacterial IN, four scenarios were created considering only homogeneous and bacterial ice nucleation, with 1, 10 and 100 IN per cubic meter of cloud volume and one with no bacteria. Moreover, two other scenarios were generated: the BRAMS default parameterization and its combination with bacterial IN. The model reproduced a strong convective cell over Sao Paulo on 3 March 2003. Results showed that bacterial IN may change cloud evolution as well as its microphysical properties, which in turn influence cloud radiative properties. For example, the reflected shortwave irradiance over an averaged domain in a scenario considering bacterial IN added to the BRAMS default parameterization was 14% lower than if bacteria were not considered. Heating rates can also be impacted, especially due to differences in cloud lifetime. Results suggest that the omission of bacterial IN in numerical models, including global cloud models, could neglect relevant ice nucleation processes that potentially influence cloud radiative properties.
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Tassio S Costa, Fábio L. T. Gonçalves, Marcia A Yamasoe, Jorge A Martins, Cindy E. Morris. Bacterial ice nuclei impact cloud lifetime and radiative properties and reduce atmospheric heat loss in the BRAMS simulation model. Environmental Research Letters, IOP Publishing, 2014, 9 (8), pp.084020. ⟨10.1088/1748-9326/9/8/084020⟩. ⟨hal-02632404⟩

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