The ION-CAGE Code: A Numerical Model for the Growth of Charged and Neutral Aerosols

J. Svensmark, N. J. Shaviv, M. B. Enghoff, H. Svensmark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The presence of small ions influences the growth dynamics of a size distribution of aerosols. Specifically, the often neglected mass of small ions influences the aerosol growth rate, which may be important for terrestrial cloud formation. To this end, we develop the Ion and Charged Aerosol Growth Enhancement (ION-CAGE) code, a numerical model to calculate the growth of a species of aerosols in the presence of charge, which explicitly includes terms for ion condensation. It is shown that a positive contribution to aerosol growth rate is obtained by increasing the ion-pair concentration through this ion condensation effect, consistent with recent experimental findings. The ion condensation effect is then compared to aerosol growth from charged aerosol coagulation, which is seen to be independent of ion-pair concentration. Growth rate enhancements by ion condensation are largest for aerosol sizes less than ∼25 nm and increases proportional to the ion concentration. The effect of ion condensation is expected to be most important over pristine marine areas. The model source code is made available through a public repository.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020EA001142
JournalEarth and Space Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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