Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-752
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-752
29 Apr 2024
 | 29 Apr 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Aggregation of ice-nucleating macromolecules from Betula pendula pollen determines ice nucleation efficiency

Florian Wieland, Nadine Bothen, Ralph Schwidetzky, Teresa M. Seifried, Paul Bieber, Ulrich Pöschl, Konrad Meister, Mischa Bonn, Janine Fröhlich-Nowoisky, and Hinrich Grothe

Abstract. Various aerosols, including mineral dust, soot, and biological particles, can act as ice nuclei, initiating the freezing of supercooled cloud droplets. Cloud droplet freezing significantly impacts cloud properties and, consequently, weather and climate. Some biological ice nuclei exhibit exceptionally high nucleation temperatures close to 0 °C. Ice Nucleating Macromolecules (INMs) found on pollen are typically not considered among the most active ice nuclei. Still, they can be highly abundant, especially for species such as Betula pendula, a widespread birch tree species in the boreal forest. Recent studies have shown that certain tree-derived INMs exhibit ice nucleation activity above -10 °C, suggesting they could play a more significant role in atmospheric processes than previously understood. Our study reveals three distinct INM classes active at -8.7 °C, -15.7 °C, and -17.4 °C are present in B. pendula. Freeze-drying and freeze-thaw cycles noticeably alter their ice nucleation capability, and the results of heat treatment, size, and chemical analysis indicate that INM classes correspond to size-varying aggregates, with larger aggregates nucleating ice at higher temperatures in agreement with previous studies on fungal and bacterial ice nucleators. Our findings suggest that B. pendula INMs are potentially important for atmospheric ice nucleation because of their high prevalence and nucleation temperatures.

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Florian Wieland, Nadine Bothen, Ralph Schwidetzky, Teresa M. Seifried, Paul Bieber, Ulrich Pöschl, Konrad Meister, Mischa Bonn, Janine Fröhlich-Nowoisky, and Hinrich Grothe

Status: open (until 21 Jun 2024)

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Florian Wieland, Nadine Bothen, Ralph Schwidetzky, Teresa M. Seifried, Paul Bieber, Ulrich Pöschl, Konrad Meister, Mischa Bonn, Janine Fröhlich-Nowoisky, and Hinrich Grothe
Florian Wieland, Nadine Bothen, Ralph Schwidetzky, Teresa M. Seifried, Paul Bieber, Ulrich Pöschl, Konrad Meister, Mischa Bonn, Janine Fröhlich-Nowoisky, and Hinrich Grothe

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Short summary
Betula pendula is a widespread birch tree species containing ice nucleation agents that can trigger the freezing of cloud droplets, and thereby alter the evolution of clouds. Our study identifies three distinct ice-nucleating macromolecules (INMs) and aggregates of varying size that can nucleate ice at temperatures of up to -5.4 °C. Our findings suggest that these vegetation-derived particles may influence atmospheric processes, weather, and climate stronger than previously thought.