Journal article

Parameterization of homogeneous ice nucleation for cloud and climate models based on classical nucleation theory

Khvorostyanov V, Curry J ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 12, issue 19 (2012) pp. 9275-9302

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A new analytical parameterization of homogeneous ice nucleation is
developed based on extended classical nucleation theory including
new equations for the critical radii of the ice germs, free energies
and nucleation rates as simultaneous functions of temperature and
water saturation ratio. By representing these quantities as separable
products of the analytical functions of temperature and supersaturation,
analytical solutions are found for the integral-differential supersaturation
equation and concentration of nucleated crystals. Parcel model simulations
are used to illustrate the general behavior of various nucleation
properties under various conditions, for justifications of the further
key analytical simplifications, and for verification of the resulting

The final parameterization is based upon the values of the supersaturation
that determines the current or maximum concentrations of the nucleated
ice crystals. The crystal concentration is analytically expressed
as a function of time and can be used for parameterization of homogeneous
ice nucleation both in the models with small time steps and for substep
parameterization in the models with large time steps. The crystal
concentration is expressed analytically via the error functions or
elementary functions and depends only on the fundamental atmospheric
parameters and parameters of classical nucleation theory. The diffusion
and kinetic limits of the new parameterization agree with previous
semi-empirical parameterizations.

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  • V. I. Khvorostyanov

  • J. A. Curry

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