92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Thursday, 26 January 2012: 11:00 AM
Relationship Between CCN Activation Properties and Oxidation Level of Aerosol Organics Observed During Recent Field Studies
Room 244 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Fan Mei, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY; and A. Setyan, J. Xu, Q. Zhang, P. Hayes, A. Ortega, J. L. Jimenez, J. Taylor, J. Allan, and J. Wang

Organic compounds are an important component of atmospheric aerosol, and can contribute upward of ~90% of total fine aerosol mass. Atmospheric aerosols often consist of hundreds of organic species, and their hygroscopicities are not well understood. This incomplete understanding limits our ability to accurately simulate aerosol cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) spectrum and therefore the aerosol indirect effects, which remain the most uncertain components in forcing of climate change over the industrial period.

In this study, the hygroscopicity of aerosol organics characterized during three recent field campaigns, CalNex-LA (Pasadena, California), CARES (Cool, CA), and Aerosol lifecycle IOP (Upton, NY), is presented. Hygroscopicity of aerosol particles, which were mixtures of both inorganic and organic species, is first determined from the size-resolved activation efficiency spectrum. Based on measured aerosol chemical composition, the hygroscopicity of organics is then derived from the particle hygroscopicity by subtracting the contribution of inorganic species, whose hygroscopicities are well understood. During the three field studies, organic aerosols were characterized within a number of representative air masses, including urban plumes and those dominated by biogenic emissions. Aerosol organics measured by HR-ToF-AMS exhibit various degrees of photochemical aging, with the atomic O:C ratio ranges from ~0.35 to ~0.65. The hygroscopicity of organics is well correlated with its O:C ratio, increasing from 0.07 at the O:C ratio of 0.35 to 0.16 at the O:C ratio of 0.65. This suggests that to the first order, a simple, semi-empirical parameterization of organic aerosol hygroscopicity based on oxidation level can be developed for global models. While the measurements show that aerosol organics can substantially influence the droplet growth kinetics by modifying particle critical supersaturation, size-classified organic particles exhibit essentially identical growth kinetics when compared to ammonium sulfate particles with the same critical supersaturation, suggesting observed aerosol organics do not inhibit droplet growth through reducing the mass accommodation coefficient of water vapor.

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