High-resolution ice nucleation spectra of sea-ice bacteria: implications for cloud formation and life in frozen environments

Biogeosciences (Impact Factor: 3.75). 01/2007; DOI: 10.5194/bgd-4-4261-2007
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Even though studies of Arctic ice forming particles suggest that a bacterial or viral source derived from open leads could be important for cloud formation in the Arctic (Bigg and Leck, 2001), the ice nucleation potential of most polar marine psychrophiles or viruses has not been examined under conditions more closely resembling those in the atmosphere. In this paper, we examined the ice nucleation activity (INA) of several representative Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice bacterial isolates and a polar Colwellia phage virus. High-resolution ice nucleation spectra were obtained for droplets containing bacterial cells or virus particles using a free-fall freezing tube technique. The fraction of frozen droplets at a particular droplet temperature was determined by measuring the depolarized light scattering intensity from solution droplets in free-fall. Our experiments revealed that all sea-ice isolates and the virus nucleated ice at temperatures very close to the homogeneous nucleation temperature for the nucleation medium ? which for artificial seawater was ?42.2±0.3°C. Our results indicated that these marine psychro-active bacteria and viruses are not important for heterogeneous ice nucleation processes in sea ice or polar clouds. These results also suggested that avoidance of ice formation in close proximity to cell surfaces might be one of the cold-adaptation and survival strategies for sea-ice bacteria. The fact that INA occurs at such low temperature could constitute one factor that explains the persistence of metabolic activities at temperatures far below the freezing point of seawater.

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    ABSTRACT: In-situ aircraft observations of ice crystal concentrations in Antarctic clouds are presented for the first time. Orographic, layer and wave clouds around the Antarctic Peninsula and Larsen Ice shelf regions were penetrated by the British Antarctic Survey's Twin Otter aircraft, which was equipped with modern cloud physics probes. The clouds studied were mostly in the free troposphere and hence ice crystals blown from the surface are unlikely to have been a major source for the ice phase. The temperature range covered by the experiments was 0 to -21 °C. The clouds were found to contain supercooled liquid water in most regions and at heterogeneous ice formation temperatures ice crystal concentrations (60 s averages) were often less than 0.07 l-1, although values up to 0.22 l-1 were observed. Estimates of observed aerosol concentrations were used as input into the DeMott et al. (2010) ice nuclei (IN) parameterisation. The observed ice crystal number concentrations were generally in broad agreement with the IN predictions, although on the whole the predicted values were higher. Possible reasons for this are discussed and include the lack of IN observations in this region with which to characterise the parameterisation, and/or problems in relating ice concentration measurements to IN concentrations. Other IN parameterisations significantly overestimated the number of ice particles. Generally ice particle concentrations were much lower than found in clouds in middle latitudes for a given temperature. Higher ice crystal concentrations were sometimes observed at temperatures warmer than -9 °C, with values of several per litre reached. These were attributable to secondary ice particle production by the Hallett Mossop process. Even in this temperature range it was observed that there were regions with little or no ice that were dominated by supercooled liquid water. It is likely that in some cases this was due to a lack of seeding ice crystals to act as rimers to initiate secondary ice particle production. This highlights the chaotic and spatially inhomogeneous nature of this process and indicates that the accurate representation of it in global models is likely to represent a challenge. However, the contrast between Hallett Mossop zone ice concentrations and the fairly low concentrations of heterogeneously nucleated ice suggests that the Hallet Mossop process has the potential to be very important in remote, pristine regions such as around the Antarctic coast.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 12/2012; 12(23):11275-11294. · 5.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Atmospheric aerosol particles serve as nuclei for ice-crystal formation. As such, these particles are critical to the generation of cirrus clouds, which form from gas and liquid water. Atmospheric aerosols also initiate ice formation in warmer, mixed-phase clouds, where ice crystals coexist with aqueous droplets. Biogenic aerosol particles of terrestrial origin, including bacteria and pollen, can act as ice nuclei. Whether biogenic particles of marine origin also act as ice nuclei has remained uncertain. We exposed the cosmopolitan planktonic diatom species Thalassiosira pseudonana to water vapour and supercooled aqueous sodium chloride under typical tropospheric conditions conducive to cirrus-cloud formation. Ice nucleation was determined using a controlled vapour cooling-stage microscope system. Under all conditions, diatoms initiated ice formation. The presence of diatoms in water increased the temperature for ice formation up to 13K, and in aqueous sodium chloride, ice formed at temperatures up to 30K higher than when diatoms were not present. In addition, diatoms initiated ice formation from water vapour at relative humidities as low as 65%. The rate of ice nucleation was rapid and independent of surface area. We suggest that marine biogenic particles such as diatoms help explain high values and seasonal variations in ice-nuclei concentrations in subpolar regions.
    Nature Geoscience 12/2010; 4(2):88-90. · 11.67 Impact Factor
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    Scientifica. 01/2014; 2014:976895.

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