A PRELIMINARY STUDY OF THE CHEMICAL MODIFICATION OF CLOUD CONDENSATION NUCLEI IN STRATIFORM CLOUDS AT WHITEFACE MOUNTAIN, NEW YORK

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Abstract

Results are presented for pH, nitrate and sulfate ion content of cloud water collected at Whiteface Mountain in northern New York. Evidence exists for the production of sulfate in possibly one of the case studies and for nitrate production in all three of the case studies examined. The results are not entirely consistent with the hypothesis that chemical modification of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) takes place in stratiform clouds. For only one case is CCN production evident and total aerosol number concentration is enhanced.

The measured nitrate production cannot be accounted for by the soluble fraction of the CCN aerosol and may result from the absorption of interstitial HNO3(g). This might account for the change in cloud condensation nuclei, indicated by the results, when sulfate production was not evident. The CCN spectrum can also be altered by agglomeration of captured particles upon cloud droplet evaporation. It is not possible to separate the two mechanisms (chemical vs physical) at this time.

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