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Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Nov 6;52(21):12358-12367. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.8b03881. Epub 2018 Oct 12.

Terrestrial Origin for Abundant Riverine Nanoscale Ice-Nucleating Particles.

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Department of Biological Sciences , Bowling Green State University , Bowling Green , Ohio 43403 , United States.
Ocean Lab , The Parrog , Fishguard Harbour , SA64 0ED , U.K.
Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research , Permoserstrasse 15 , 04318 , Leipzig , Germany.
Department of Atmospheric Science , Colorado State University , Fort Collins , Colorado 80523 , United States.
Hatfield Consultants , #200-850 Harbourside Drive , North Vancouver , British Columbia , Canada V7P 0A3.
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry , Multiphase Chemistry Department , Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1 , 55128 , Mainz , Germany.


Ice-nucleating particles (INPs) associated with fresh waters are a neglected, but integral component of the water cycle. Abundant INPs were identified from surface waters of both the Maumee River and Lake Erie with ice nucleus spectra spanning a temperature range from -3 to -15 °C. The majority of river INPs were submicron in size and attributed to biogenic macromolecules, inferred from the denaturation of ice-nucleation activity by heat. In a watershed dominated by row-crop agriculture, higher concentrations of INPs were found in river samples compared to lake samples. Further, ice-nucleating temperatures differed between river and lake samples, which indicated different populations of INPs. Seasonal analysis of INPs that were active at warmer temperatures (≥-10 °C; INP-10) showed their concentration to correlate with river discharge, suggesting a watershed origin of these INPs. A terrestrial origin for INPs in the Maumee River was further supported by a correspondence between the ice-nucleation signatures of river INPs and INPs derived from the soil fungus Mortierella alpina. Aerosols derived from turbulence features in the river carry INP-10, although their potential influence on regional weather is unclear. INP-10 contained within aerosols generated from a weir spanning the river, ranged in concentration from 1 to 11 INP m-3, which represented a fold-change of 3.2 over average INP-10 concentrations sampled from aerosols at control locations.


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