Search Results

Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Item
    Intercomparison of 15 aerodynamic particle size spectrometers (APS 3321): Uncertainties in particle sizing and number size distribution
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2016) Pfeifer, Sascha; Müller, Thomas; Weinhold, Kay; Zikova, Nadezda; dos Santos, Sebastiao Martins; Marinoni, Angela; Bischof, Oliver F.; Kykal, Carsten; Ries, Ludwig; Meinhardt, Frank; Aalto, Pasi; Mihalopoulos, Nikolaos; Wiedensohler, Alfred
    Aerodynamic particle size spectrometers are a well-established method to measure number size distributions of coarse mode particles in the atmosphere. Quality assurance is essential for atmospheric observational aerosol networks to obtain comparable results with known uncertainties. In a laboratory study within the framework of ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research Infrastructure Network), 15 aerodynamic particle size spectrometers (APS model 3321, TSI Inc., St. Paul, MN, USA) were compared with a focus on flow rates, particle sizing, and the unit-to-unit variability of the particle number size distribution. Flow rate deviations were relatively small (within a few percent), while the sizing accuracy was found to be within 10 % compared to polystyrene latex (PSL) reference particles. The unit-to-unit variability in terms of the particle number size distribution during this study was within 10 % to 20 % for particles in the range of 0.9 up to 3 µm, which is acceptable for atmospheric measurements. For particles smaller than that, the variability increased up to 60 %, probably caused by differences in the counting efficiencies of individual units. Number size distribution data for particles smaller than 0.9 µm in aerodynamic diameter should only be used with caution. For particles larger than 3 µm, the unit-to-unit variability increased as well. A possible reason is an insufficient sizing accuracy in combination with a steeply sloping particle number size distribution and the increasing uncertainty due to decreasing counting. Particularly this uncertainty of the particle number size distribution must be considered if higher moments of the size distribution such as the particle volume or mass are calculated, which require the conversion of the aerodynamic diameter measured to a volume equivalent diameter. In order to perform a quantitative quality assurance, a traceable reference method for the particle number concentration in the size range 0.5–3 µm is needed.
  • Item
    Properties of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in the trade wind marine boundary layer of the western North Atlantic
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2016) Kristensen, Thomas B.; Müller, Thomas; Kandler, Konrad; Benker, Nathalie; Hartmann, Markus; Prospero, Joseph M.; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Stratmann, Frank
    Cloud optical properties in the trade winds over the eastern Caribbean Sea have been shown to be sensitive to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations. The objective of the current study was to investigate the CCN properties in the marine boundary layer (MBL) in the tropical western North Atlantic, in order to assess the respective roles of inorganic sulfate, organic species, long-range transported mineral dust and sea-salt particles. Measurements were carried out in June–July 2013, on the east coast of Barbados, and included CCN number concentrations, particle number size distributions and offline analysis of sampled particulate matter (PM) and sampled accumulation mode particles for an investigation of composition and mixing state with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in combination with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). During most of the campaign, significant mass concentrations of long-range transported mineral dust was present in the PM, and influence from local island sources can be ruled out. The CCN and particle number concentrations were similar to what can be expected in pristine marine environments. The hygroscopicity parameter κ was inferred, and values in the range 0.2–0.5 were found during most of the campaign, with similar values for the Aitken and the accumulation mode. The accumulation mode particles studied with TEM were dominated by non-refractory material, and concentrations of mineral dust, sea salt and soot were too small to influence the CCN properties. It is highly likely that the CCN were dominated by a mixture of sulfate species and organic compounds.
  • Item
    Evidence for ambient dark aqueous SOA formation in the Po Valley, Italy
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2016) Sullivan, Amy P.; Hodas, Natasha; Turpin, Barbara J.; Skog, Kate; Keutsch, Frank N.; Gilardoni, Stefania; Paglione, Marco; Rinaldi, Matteo; Decesari, Stefano; Facchini, Maria Cristina; Poulain, Laurent; Herrmann, Hartmut; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Nemitz, Eiko; Twigg, Marsailidh M.; Collett, Jeffrey L. Jr.
    Laboratory experiments suggest that water-soluble products from the gas-phase oxidation of volatile organic compounds can partition into atmospheric waters where they are further oxidized to form low volatility products, providing an alternative route for oxidation in addition to further oxidation in the gas phase. These products can remain in the particle phase after water evaporation, forming what is termed as aqueous secondary organic aerosol (aqSOA). However, few studies have attempted to observe ambient aqSOA. Therefore, a suite of measurements, including near-real-time WSOC (water-soluble organic carbon), inorganic anions/cations, organic acids, and gas-phase glyoxal, were made during the PEGASOS (Pan-European Gas-AeroSOls-climate interaction Study) 2012 campaign in the Po Valley, Italy, to search for evidence of aqSOA. Our analysis focused on four periods: Period A on 19–21 June, Period B on 30 June and 1–2 July, Period C on 3–5 July, and Period D on 6–7 July to represent the first (Period A) and second (Periods B, C, and D) halves of the study. These periods were picked to cover varying levels of WSOC and aerosol liquid water. In addition, back trajectory analysis suggested all sites sampled similar air masses on a given day. The data collected during both periods were divided into times of increasing relative humidity (RH) and decreasing RH, with the aim of diminishing the influence of dilution and mixing on SOA concentrations and other measured variables. Evidence for local aqSOA formation was only observed during Period A. When this occurred, there was a correlation of WSOC with organic aerosol (R2 = 0.84), aerosol liquid water (R2 = 0.65), RH (R2 = 0.39), and aerosol nitrate (R2 = 0.66). Additionally, this was only observed during times of increasing RH, which coincided with dark conditions. Comparisons of WSOC with oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA) factors, determined from application of positive matrix factorization analysis on the aerosol mass spectrometer observations of the submicron non-refractory organic particle composition, suggested that the WSOC differed in the two halves of the study (Period A WSOC vs. OOA-2 R2 = 0.83 and OOA-4 R2 = 0.04, whereas Period C WSOC vs. OOA-2 R2 = 0.03 and OOA-4 R2 = 0.64). OOA-2 had a high O ∕ C (oxygen ∕ carbon) ratio of 0.77, providing evidence that aqueous processing was occurring during Period A. Key factors of local aqSOA production during Period A appear to include air mass stagnation, which allows aqSOA precursors to accumulate in the region; the formation of substantial local particulate nitrate during the overnight hours, which enhances water uptake by the aerosol; and the presence of significant amounts of ammonia, which may contribute to ammonium nitrate formation and subsequent water uptake and/or play a more direct role in the aqSOA chemistry.