Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Scavenging of acidic gases (HCOOH, CH3COOH, HNO3, HCl, and SO2) and ammonia in mixed liquid-solid water clouds at the Puy de Dôme mountain (France)

Authors

  • Didier Voisin,

  • Michel Legrand,

  • Nadine Chaumerliac


Abstract

In order to study scavenging processes of chemical species in mixed phase clouds, in-cloud field measurements were conducted in December 1997 at the Puy de Dôme mountain (center of France, 1465 m above sea level). Soluble species including NH+4, Cl;, NO3−3, SO4, HCOO, CH3COO, and C2O4 present in the different phases (supercooled water droplets, rimed snowflakes, interstitial gases, and aerosols) of cold clouds have been investigated. Conducted in parallel to microphysical studies of clouds (liquid water and ice contents, and size distribution of hydrometeors), these chemical investigations allow us to examine the partitioning of strong (HNO3 and HCl) and weak (SO2, HCOOH, and CH3COOH) acids as well as ammonia between interstitial air and the condensed phases (liquid and solid water particles) in mixed clouds present during winter at midlatitude regions. From that, we discuss the processes by which these key atmospheric species are taken up from the gas phase by the condensed phases (liquid and ice) in these cold clouds. We examine several factors which are of importance in driving the final composition of cloud ice. They include the partitioning of species between gaseous and supercooled liquid phases, the amount of rimed ice collected by snowflakes, and the retention of gas during shock freezing of supercooled droplets onto ice particles. Strong acids (HCl and HNO3) as well as NH3, being sufficiently soluble in water, are mainly partitioned into supercooled water droplets. Furthermore, being subsaturated in liquid droplets, these species are well retained in rimed ice. For these species, riming is found to be the main process driving the final composition of snowflakes, direct incorporation from the gas phase during growth of snowflakes remaining insignificant because of low concentrations in the gas phase. For light carboxylic acids the riming process mainly determines the composition of the snowflakes, but an additional significant contribution by gas incorporation during the growth of snowflakes cannot be excluded. SO2 is also present at significant levels in the interstitial air and is poorly retained in ice during riming of supercooled water droplets. However, hydroxymethanesulfonate (HMSA) was likely present in supercooled liquid droplets, making it difficult to evaluate by which mechanism S(IV) (i.e., HMSA plus SO2) has been incorporated into snowflakes.

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