Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/ar-2023-17
https://doi.org/10.5194/ar-2023-17
28 Nov 2023
 | 28 Nov 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AR.

Atmospheric ice-nucleating particles in the Eastern Mediterranean and the potential influence of fertile soils

Mark Duncan Tarn, Bethany V. Wyld, Naama Reicher, Matan Alayof, Daniella Gat, Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin, Sebastien Noel Flavio Sikora, Alexander David Harrison, Yinon Rudich, and Benjamin John Murray

Abstract. While the atmosphere in the Eastern Mediterranean is part of the dust belt, it encounters air masses from Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Sahara and Arabian Deserts that bring with them a whole host of potential dust and bioaerosol compositions and concentrations via long-range transport. The consequential changes in the populations of ice-nucleating particles (INPs), aerosols that influence weather and climate by the triggering of freezing in supercooled cloud water droplets, including in the convective cloud systems in the region, are not so well understood beyond the influence of desert dust storms in increasing INP concentrations. Here, we undertook an intensive INP measurement campaign in Israel to monitor changes in concentrations and activity from four major air masses, including the potential for activity from biological INPs. Our findings show that the INP activity in the region is likely dominated by the K-feldspar mineral content, with southwesterly air masses from the Sahara Desert and easterly air masses from the Arabian Deserts markedly increasing both aerosol and INP concentrations. Most intriguingly, air masses that passed over the Fertile Crescent, a crescent-shaped region of fertile soils, agriculture, wetlands, and marshes stretching from the Nile Delta and over northern Syria to eastern Iraq, brought high INP concentrations with strong indicators of biological activity. These results suggest that the Fertile Crescent could be a sporadic source of high-temperature biological ice-nucleating activity across the region that could periodically dominate the otherwise K-feldspar-controlled INP environment and warrants further exploration in future studies in the region. This is particularly true given the ongoing desertification of the Fertile Crescent that could reveal further sources of dust and fertile soil-based INPs in the future.

Mark Duncan Tarn, Bethany V. Wyld, Naama Reicher, Matan Alayof, Daniella Gat, Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin, Sebastien Noel Flavio Sikora, Alexander David Harrison, Yinon Rudich, and Benjamin John Murray

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on ar-2023-17', Anonymous Referee #1, 19 Dec 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on ar-2023-17', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Jan 2024
  • AC1: 'Comment on ar-2023-17 - response to RC1 and RC2', Mark Tarn, 01 Mar 2024
  • AC2: 'Comment on ar-2023-17 - response to RC1 and RC2', Mark Tarn, 01 Mar 2024
Mark Duncan Tarn, Bethany V. Wyld, Naama Reicher, Matan Alayof, Daniella Gat, Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin, Sebastien Noel Flavio Sikora, Alexander David Harrison, Yinon Rudich, and Benjamin John Murray
Mark Duncan Tarn, Bethany V. Wyld, Naama Reicher, Matan Alayof, Daniella Gat, Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin, Sebastien Noel Flavio Sikora, Alexander David Harrison, Yinon Rudich, and Benjamin John Murray

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Short summary
Ambient ice-nucleating particle (INP) concentrations were measured in Israel, which experiences air masses from a variety of sources. We found that the INP activity is typically dominated by K-feldspar mineral dust, but that air masses passing over the Fertile Crescent region correlated with high INP concentrations and indicators of biological activity. This suggests that the Fertile Crescent could be a sporadic source of warm-temperature biogenic INPs, and warrants further study of the region.
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