On the usage of classical nucleation theory in quantification of the impact of bacterial INP on weather and climate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Bacterial ice-nucleating particles (INP) are present in the atmosphere and efficient in heterogeneous ice-nucleation at temperatures up to -2 °C in mixed-phase clouds. However, due to their low emission rates, their climatic impact was considered insignificant in previous modeling studies. In view of uncertainties about the actual atmospheric emission rates and concentrations of bacterial INP, it is important to re-investigate the threshold fraction of cloud droplets containing bacterial INP for a pronounced effect on ice-nucleation, by using a suitable parameterization that describes the ice-nucleation process by bacterial INP properly. Therefore, we compared two heterogeneous ice-nucleation rate parameterizations, denoted CH08 and HOO10 herein, both of which are based on classical-nucleation-theory and measurements, and use similar equations, but different parameters, to an empirical parameterization, denoted HAR13 herein, which considers implicitly the number of bacterial INP. All parameterizations were used to calculate the ice-nucleation probability offline. HAR13 and HOO10 were implemented and tested in a one-dimensional version of a weather-forecast-model in two meteorological cases. Ice-nucleation-probabilities based on HAR13 and CH08 were similar, in spite of their different derivation, and were higher than those based on HOO10. This study shows the importance of the method of parameterization and of the input variable, number of bacterial INP, for accurately assessing their role in meteorological and climatic processes.


  • Maher Sahyoun
  • Heike Wex
  • Ulrich Gosewinkel
  • Tina Šantl-Temkiv
  • Niels W. Nielsen
  • Kai Finster
  • Jens H. Sørensen
  • Frank Stratmann
  • Ulrik S. Korsholm
External organisations
  • Danish Meteorological Institute
  • Aarhus University
  • Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


  • Bacterial INP, Classical nucleation theory, Ice nucleation, Ice nucleation active proteins, Ice nucleation rate
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-240
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes