Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science


Based on the concept of the laboratory instrument ZINC and the experiences we gained with it we developed the field instrument PINC with a small and lightweight cooling system and a shorter chamber so that it is easily transportable. One goal of the development of this instrument was the possibility to do field studies and fly on research aircraft with limited space and power supply. Unlike ZINC, PINC has a couple of portable refrigerant compressors (Danfoss BD series) to directly cool the walls of the chamber without the use of an intermediate cooling liquid. In this configuration, the instrument is able to measure ambient ice nuclei (IN) concentrations at conditions as cold as -40°C and relative humidities exceeding water saturation1.

The instrument has already successfully participated in a couple of laboratory campaigns2,3,4,5 in Switzerland and Germany. Our main focus now lies on field campaigns. PINC has measured ambient IN concentrations on the High Alpine Research Station Jungfraujoch during several campaigns since 20081. Recently, we participated in CLACE2013 and CLACE2014, two large campaigns at the Jungfraujoch which aimed at investigating mixed-phase cloud properties. Furthermore, we launched together with our partners from AEMET, the CALIMA (Cloud Affecting particLes In Mineral dust from the sAhara) 2013 and 2014 campaign at the Izaña Observatory on Tenerife, Spain. During August of both years, we investigated the effectiveness of mineral dust arriving from the Sahara to act as ice nuclei as well as cloud condensation nuclei. In summer 2014 we also measured the chemical composition on a single particle basis with the ATOFMS which allows a better understanding of the IN and CCN activity.

To study immersion mode IN, PINC can be operated in the PIMCA-PINC setup, which was recently used in a first field study at an urban-forest site in Zurich. At the moment, two PhD students are working with the PINC: Monika Kohn in the immersion freezing setup with PIMCA and Yvonne Boose on mineral dust acting as IN.


1 C. Chou et al. (2011), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 4725-4738

2 C. Chou et al. (2013), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 761-772

3 Z.A. Kanji et al. (2013), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 9097-9118

4 H. Wex et al. (2014), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Disc., 14, 22321–22384

5 N. Hiranuma et al. (2014), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Disc., 14, 22045–22116


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