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

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.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The effectiveness of aerosols as immersion freezing nuclei at the South Pole station was investigated during January and February 2009 using the FRIDGE-TAU. The analysis consisted of testing the freezing temperature of about 100–130 drops per sample containing aerosols collected at ground level and on a balloon lifted to different heights. All the drops froze between −18 °C and −27 °C. The temperature in which 50% of the drops froze occurred at −24 °C, while nuclei concentration of 1 L−1 at −22 °C was calculated. Meteorological conditions such as wind speed, ice precipitation as well as the trajectories of the air masses affected the ice nuclei concentrations. Higher concentrations were observed on days when the winds were stronger or when the air mass originated from the sea.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2011; · 5.51 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ice formation in the atmosphere by homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation is one of the least understood processes in cloud microphysics and climate. Here we describe our investigation of the marine environment as a potential source of atmospheric IN by experimentally observing homogeneous ice nucleation from aqueous NaCl droplets and comparing against heterogeneous ice nucleation from aqueous NaCl droplets containing intact and fragmented diatoms. Homogeneous and heterogeneous ice nucleation are studied as a function of temperature and water activity, aw. Additional analyses are presented on the dependence of diatom surface area and aqueous volume on heterogeneous freezing temperatures, ice nucleation rates, omegahet, ice nucleation rate coefficients, Jhet, and differential and cumulative ice nuclei spectra, k(T) and K(T), respectively. Homogeneous freezing temperatures and corresponding nucleation rate coefficients are in agreement with the water activity based homogeneous ice nucleation theory within experimental and predictive uncertainties. Our results confirm, as predicted by classical nucleation theory, that a stochastic interpretation can be used to describe this nucleation process. Heterogeneous ice nucleation initiated by intact and fragmented diatoms can be adequately represented by a modified water activity based ice nucleation theory. A horizontal shift in water activity, Deltaaw, het = 0.2303, of the ice melting curve can describe median heterogeneous freezing temperatures. Individual freezing temperatures showed no dependence on available diatom surface area and aqueous volume. Determined at median diatom freezing temperatures for aw from 0.8 to 0.99, omegahet ~ 0.11+0.06-0.05 s-1, Jhet ~ 1.0+1.16-0.61 × 104 cm-2 s-1, and K ~ 6.2+3.5-4.1 × 104 cm-2. The experimentally derived ice nucleation rates and nuclei spectra allow us to estimate ice particle production which we subsequently use for a comparison with observed ice crystal concentrations typically found in cirrus and polar marine mixed-phase clouds. Differences in application of time-dependent and time-independent analyses to predict ice particle production are discussed.
    ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS 01/2011; 11:8291-8336. · 5.51 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Biogenic particles have the potential to affect the formation of ice crystals in the atmosphere with subsequent consequences for the hydrological cycle and climate. We present laboratory observations of heterogeneous ice nucleation in immersion and deposition modes under atmospherically relevant conditions initiated by Nannochloris atomus and Emiliania huxleyi, marine phytoplankton with structurally and chemically distinct cell walls. Temperatures at which freezing, melting, and water uptake occur are observed using optical microscopy. The intact and fragmented unarmoured cells of N. atomus in aqueous NaCl droplets enhance ice nucleation by 10-20 K over the homogeneous freezing limit and can be described by a modified water activity based ice nucleation approach. E. huxleyi cells covered by calcite plates do not enhance droplet freezing temperatures. Both species nucleate ice in the deposition mode at an ice saturation ratio, S(ice), as low as ~1.2 and below 240 K, however, for each, different nucleation modes occur at warmer temperatures. These observations show that markedly different biogenic surfaces have both comparable and contrasting effects on ice nucleation behaviour depending on the presence of the aqueous phase and the extent of supercooling and water vapour supersaturation. We derive heterogeneous ice nucleation rate coefficients, J(het), and cumulative ice nuclei spectra, K, for quantification and analysis using time-dependent and time-independent approaches, respectively. Contact angles, α, derived from J(het)via immersion freezing depend on T, a(w), and S(ice). For deposition freezing, α can be described as a function of S(ice) only. The different approaches yield different predictions of atmospheric ice crystal numbers primarily due to the time evolution allowed for the time-dependent approach with implications for the evolution of mixed-phase and ice clouds.
    Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 09/2011; 13(44):19882-94. · 4.20 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 21, 2014