Revising the hygroscopicity of inorganic sea salt particles

Zieger, P.; Väisänen, O.; Corbin, J.; Partridge, D. G.; Bastelberger, S.; Mousavi-Fard, M.; Rosati, B.; Gysel, M.; Krieger, U.; Leck, C.; Nenes, A.; Riipinen, I.; Virtanen, A.; Salter, M.
2017 | Nat. Commun. | 8 (15883)

Sea spray is one of the largest natural aerosol sources and plays an important role in the Earth’s radiative budget. These particles are inherently hygroscopic, that is, they take-up moisture from the air, which affects the extent to which they interact with solar radiation. We demonstrate that the hygroscopic growth of inorganic sea salt is 8–15% lower than pure sodium chloride, most likely due to the presence of hydrates. We observe an increase in hygroscopic growth with decreasing particle size (for particle diameters <150 nm) that is independent of the particle generation method. We vary the hygroscopic growth of the inorganic sea salt within a general circulation model and show that a reduced hygroscopicity leads to a reduction in aerosol-radiation interactions, manifested by a latitudinal-dependent reduction of the aerosol optical depth by up to 15%, while cloud-related parameters are unaffected. We propose that a value of κs=1.1 (at RH=90%) is used to represent the hygroscopicity of inorganic sea salt particles in numerical models.

LOAC: a small aerosol optical counter/sizer for ground-based and balloon measurements of the size distribution and nature of atmospheric particles – Part 2: First results from balloon and unmanned aerial vehicle flights

J.-B. Renard; F. Dulac; G. Berthet; T. Lurton; D. Vignelles; F. Jégou; T. Tonnelier; M. Jeannot; B. Couté; R. Akiki; N. Verdier; M. Mallet; F. Gensdarmes; P. Charpentier; S. Mesmin; V. Duverger; J.-C. Dupont; T. Elias; V. Crenn; J. Sciare; P. Zieger; M. Salter; T. Roberts; J. Giacomoni; M. Gobbi; E. Hamonou; H. Olafsson; P. Dagsson-Waldhauserova; C. Camy-Peyret; C. Mazel; T. Décamps; M. Piringer; J. Surcin; and D. Daugeron
2016 | Atmos. Meas. Tech. | 9 (3673-3686)

In the companion (Part I) paper, we have described and evaluated a new versatile optical particle counter/sizer named LOAC (Light Optical Aerosol Counter), based on scattering measurements at angles of 12 and 60°. That allows for some typology identification of particles (droplets, carbonaceous, salts, and mineral dust) in addition to size-segregated counting in a large diameter range from 0.2 µm up to possibly more than 100 µm depending on sampling conditions (Renard et al., 2016). Its capabilities overpass those of preceding optical particle counters (OPCs) allowing the characterization of all kind of aerosols from submicronic-sized absorbing carbonaceous particles in polluted air to very coarse particles (> 10–20 µm in diameter) in desert dust plumes or fog and clouds. LOAC's light and compact design allows measurements under all kinds of balloons, on-board unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and at ground level. We illustrate here the first LOAC airborne results obtained from a UAV and a variety of scientific balloons. The UAV was deployed in a peri-urban environment near Bordeaux in France. Balloon operations include (i) tethered balloons deployed in urban environments in Vienna (Austria) and Paris (France), (ii) pressurized balloons drifting in the lower troposphere over the western Mediterranean (during the Chemistry-Aerosol Mediterranean Experiment – ChArMEx campaigns), (iii) meteorological sounding balloons launched in the western Mediterranean region (ChArMEx) and from Aire-sur-l'Adour in south-western France (VOLTAIRE-LOAC campaign). More focus is put on measurements performed in the Mediterranean during (ChArMEx) and especially during African dust transport events to illustrate the original capability of balloon-borne LOAC to monitor in situ coarse mineral dust particles. In particular, LOAC has detected unexpected large particles in desert sand plumes.

Intercomparison of aerosol extinction profiles retrieved from MAX-DOAS measurements

Friess, U.; Klein Baltink, H.; Beirle, S.; Clemer, K.; Hendrick, F.; Henzing, B.; Irie, H.; de Leeuw, G.; Li, A.; Moerman, M.; van Roozendael, M.; Shaiganfar, R.; Wagner, T.; Wang, Y.; Xie, P.; Yilmaz, S.; Zieger, P.
2016 | Atmos. Meas. Tech. | 9 (3205-3222)

A first direct intercomparison of aerosol vertical profiles from Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) observations, performed during the Cabauw Intercomparison Campaign of Nitrogen Dioxide measuring Instruments (CINDI) in summer 2009, is presented. Five out of 14 participants of the CINDI campaign reported aerosol extinction profiles and aerosol optical thickness (AOT) as deduced from observations of differential slant column densities of the oxygen collision complex (O4) at different elevation angles. Aerosol extinction vertical profiles and AOT are compared to backscatter profiles from a ceilometer instrument and to sun photometer measurements, respectively. Furthermore, the near-surface aerosol extinction coefficient is compared to in situ measurements of a humidity-controlled nephelometer and dry aerosol absorption measurements. The participants of this intercomparison exercise use different approaches for the retrieval of aerosol information, including the retrieval of the full vertical profile using optimal estimation and a parametrised approach with a prescribed profile shape. Despite these large conceptual differences, and also differences in the wavelength of the observed O4 absorption band, good agreement in terms of the vertical structure of aerosols within the boundary layer is achieved between the aerosol extinction profiles retrieved by the different groups and the backscatter profiles observed by the ceilometer instrument. AOTs from MAX-DOAS and sun photometer show a good correlation (R>0.8), but all participants systematically underestimate the AOT. Substantial differences between the near-surface aerosol extinction from MAX-DOAS and from the humidified nephelometer remain largely unresolved.

Calcium enrichment in sea spray aerosol particles

Salter, M.; Hamacher-Barth, E.; Leck, C.; Werner, J.; Johnson, C.; Riipinen, I.; Nilsson, D.; Zieger, P.
2016 | Geophys Res Lett

Sea spray aerosol particles are an integral part of the Earth's radiation budget. To date, the inorganic composition of nascent sea spray aerosol particles have widely been assumed to be equivalent to the inorganic composition of seawater. Here we challenge this assumption using a laboratory sea spray chamber containing both natural and artificial seawater, as well as with ambient aerosol samples collected over the central Arctic Ocean during summer. We observe significant enrichment of calcium in submicrometer (<1μm in diameter) sea spray aerosol particles when particles are generated from both seawater sources in the laboratory as well as in the ambient aerosols samples. We also observe a tendency for increasing calcium enrichment with decreasing particle size. Our results suggest that calcium enrichment in sea spray aerosol particles may be environmentally significant with implications for our understanding of sea spray aerosol, its impact on Earth's climate, as well as the chemistry of the marine atmosphere.

Effect of hygroscopic growth on the aerosol light-scattering coefficient: A review of measurements, techniques and error sources

Titos, G.; Cazorla, A.; Zieger, P.; Andrews, E.; Lyamani, H.; Granados-Munoz, M.J.; Olmo, F.J.; Alados-Arboledas, L
2016 | Atmos Environ | 141 (494-507)

Knowledge of the scattering enhancement factor, f(RH), is important for an accurate description of direct aerosol radiative forcing. This factor is defined as the ratio between the scattering coefficient at enhanced relative humidity, RH, to a reference (dry) scattering coefficient. Here, we review the different experimental designs used to measure the scattering coefficient at dry and humidified conditions as well as the procedures followed to analyze the measurements. Several empirical parameterizations for the relationship between f(RH) and RH have been proposed in the literature. These parameterizations have been reviewed and tested using experimental data representative of different hygroscopic growth behavior and a new parameterization is presented. The potential sources of error in f(RH) are discussed. A Monte Carlo method is used to investigate the overall measurement uncertainty, which is found to be around 20–40% for moderately hygroscopic aerosols. The main factors contributing to this uncertainty are the uncertainty in RH measurement, the dry reference state and the nephelometer uncertainty. A literature survey of nephelometry-based f(RH) measurements is presented as a function of aerosol type. In general, the highest f(RH) values were measured in clean marine environments, with pollution having a major influence on f(RH). Dust aerosol tended to have the lowest reported hygroscopicity of any of the aerosol types studied. Major open questions and suggestions for future research priorities are outlined.

LOAC: a small aerosol optical counter/sizer for ground-based and balloon measurements of the size distribution and nature of atmospheric particles – Part 1: Principle of measurements and instrument evaluation

Renard, J.-B.; Dulac, F.; Berthet, G.; Lurton, T.; Vignelles, D.; Jegou, F.; Tonnelier, T.; Thaury, C., Jeannot, M.; Coute, B.; Akiki, R.; Verdier, N.; Mallet, M.; Gensdarmes, F.; Charpentier, P.; Duverger, V.; Dupont, J.-C.; Mesmin, S.; Elias, T.; Crenn, V.; Sciare, J.; Zieger, P.; Salter, M.; Giacomoni, J.; Gobbi, M.; Hamonou, E.; Olafsson, H.; Dagsson-Waldhauserova, P.; Camy-Peyret, C.; Mazel, C.; Decamps, T.; Piringer, M.; Surcin, J.; Daugeron, D.
2016 | Atmos. Meas. Tech. | 9 (1721-1742)

The study of aerosols in the troposphere and in the stratosphere is of major importance both for climate and air quality studies. Among the numerous instruments available, optical aerosol particles counters (OPCs) provide the size distribution in diameter range from about 100 nm to a few tens of µm. Most of them are very sensitive to the nature of aerosols, and this can result in significant biases in the retrieved size distribution. We describe here a new versatile optical particle/sizer counter named LOAC (Light Optical Aerosol Counter), which is light and compact enough to perform measurements not only at the surface but under all kinds of balloons in the troposphere and in the stratosphere. LOAC is an original OPC performing observations at two scattering angles. The first one is around 12°, and is almost insensitive to the refractive index of the particles; the second one is around 60° and is strongly sensitive to the refractive index of the particles. By combining measurement at the two angles, it is possible to retrieve the size distribution between 0.2 and 100 µm and to estimate the nature of the dominant particles (droplets, carbonaceous, salts and mineral particles) when the aerosol is relatively homogeneous. This typology is based on calibration charts obtained in the laboratory. The uncertainty for total concentrations measurements is ±20 % when concentrations are higher than 1 particle cm−3 (for a 10 min integration time). For lower concentrations, the uncertainty is up to about ±60 % for concentrations smaller than 10−2 particle cm−3. Also, the uncertainties in size calibration are ±0.025 µm for particles smaller than 0.6 µm, 5 % for particles in the 0.7–2 µm range, and 10 % for particles greater than 2 µm. The measurement accuracy of submicronic particles could be reduced in a strongly turbid case when concentration of particles > 3 µm exceeds a few particles  cm−3. Several campaigns of cross-comparison of LOAC with other particle counting instruments and remote sensing photometers have been conducted to validate both the size distribution derived by LOAC and the retrieved particle number density. The typology of the aerosols has been validated in well-defined conditions including urban pollution, desert dust episodes, sea spray, fog, and cloud. Comparison with reference aerosol mass monitoring instruments also shows that the LOAC measurements can be successfully converted to mass concentrations.

A Review of More Than 20 Years of Aerosol Observation at the High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch, Switzerland (3580 m asl)

Bukowiecki, N.; Weingartner, E.; Gysel, M.; Collaud-Coen, M.; Zieger, P.; Herrmann, E.; Steinbacher, M.; Gaeggeler, H.; Baltensperger, U.
2016 | Aerosol Air Qual. Res. | 16 (764-788)

Among the worldwide existing long-term aerosol monitoring sites, the Jungfraujoch (JFJ) belongs to the category where both free tropospheric (FT) conditions and influence from planetary boundary layer (PBL) injections can be observed. Thus, it is possible to characterize free tropospheric aerosol as well as the effects of vertical transport of more polluted air from the PBL. This paper summarizes the current knowledge of the key properties for the JFJ aerosol, gained from the large number of in-situ studies from more than 20 years of aerosol measurements at the site. This includes physical, chemical and optical aerosol properties as well as aerosol-cloud interactions and cloud characteristics. It is illustrated that the aerosol size distribution and the aerosol chemical composition are fairly constant in time due to the long distance from aerosol sources, and that many climate relevant aerosol properties can be derived due to this behavior.

An empirically derived inorganic sea spray source function incorporating sea surface temperature

Salter, M. E.; Zieger, P.; Acosta Navarro, J. C.; Grythe, H.; Kirkevag, A.; Rosati, B.; Riipinen, I.; Nilsson, E. D.
2015 | Atmos. Chem. Phys. | 15 (11047-11066)

We have developed an inorganic sea spray source function that is based upon state-of-the-art measurements of sea spray aerosol production using a temperature-controlled plunging jet sea spray aerosol chamber. The size-resolved particle production was measured between 0.01 and 10 μm dry diameter. Particle production decreased non-linearly with increasing seawater temperature (between −1 and 30 °C) similar to previous findings. In addition, we observed that the particle effective radius, as well as the particle surface, particle volume and particle mass, increased with increasing seawater temperature due to increased production of particles with dry diameters greater than 1 μm. By combining these measurements with the volume of air entrained by the plunging jet we have determined the size-resolved particle flux as a function of air entrainment. Through the use of existing parameterisations of air entrainment as a function of wind speed, we were subsequently able to scale our laboratory measurements of particle production to wind speed. By scaling in this way we avoid some of the difficulties associated with defining the "white area" of the laboratory whitecap – a contentious issue when relating laboratory measurements of particle production to oceanic whitecaps using the more frequently applied whitecap method.

The here-derived inorganic sea spray source function was implemented in a Lagrangian particle dispersion model (FLEXPART – FLEXible PARTicle dispersion model). An estimated annual global flux of inorganic sea spray aerosol of 5.9 ± 0.2 Pg yr−1 was derived that is close to the median of estimates from the same model using a wide range of existing sea spray source functions. When using the source function derived here, the model also showed good skill in predicting measurements of Na+ concentration at a number of field sites further underlining the validity of our source function.

In a final step, the sensitivity of a large-scale model (NorESM – the Norwegian Earth System Model) to our new source function was tested. Compared to the previously implemented parameterisation, a clear decrease of sea spray aerosol number flux and increase in aerosol residence time was observed, especially over the Southern Ocean. At the same time an increase in aerosol optical depth due to an increase in the number of particles with optically relevant sizes was found. That there were noticeable regional differences may have important implications for aerosol optical properties and number concentrations, subsequently also affecting the indirect radiative forcing by non-sea spray anthropogenic aerosols.

The white-light humidified optical particle spectrometer (WHOPS): a novel airborne system to characterize aerosol hygroscopicity

Rosati, B; Wehrle, G; Gysel, M; Zieger, P; Baltensperger, U; Weingartner, E
2015 | Atmos. Meas. Tech. | 8 (921-939)

Aerosol particles experience hygroscopic growth at enhanced relative humidity (RH), which leads to changes in their optical properties. We developed the white-light humidified optical particle spectrometer (WHOPS), a new instrument to investigate the particles' hygroscopic growth. Here we present a detailed technical description and characterization of the WHOPS in laboratory and field experiments. The WHOPS consists of a differential mobility analyzer, a humidifier/bypass and a white-light aerosol spectrometer (WELAS) connected in series to provide fast measurements of particle hygroscopicity at subsaturated RH and optical properties on airborne platforms. The WELAS employs a white-light source to minimize ambiguities in the optical particle sizing. In contrast to other hygroscopicity instruments, the WHOPS retrieves information of relatively large particles (i.e., diameter D > 280 nm), therefore investigating the more optically relevant size ranges.

The effective index of refraction of the dry particles is retrieved from the optical diameter measured for size-selected aerosol samples with a well-defined dry mobility diameter. The data analysis approach for the optical sizing and retrieval of the index of refraction was extensively tested in laboratory experiments with polystyrene latex size standards and ammonium sulfate particles of different diameters. The hygroscopic growth factor (GF) distribution and aerosol mixing state is inferred from the optical size distribution measured for the size-selected and humidified aerosol sample. Laboratory experiments with pure ammonium sulfate particles revealed good agreement with Köhler theory (mean bias of ~3% and maximal deviation of 8% for GFs at RH = 95%).

During first airborne measurements in the Netherlands, GFs (mean value of the GF distribution) at RH = 95% between 1.79 and 2.43 with a median of 2.02 were observed for particles with a dry diameter of 500 nm. This corresponds to hygroscopicity parameters (κ) between 0.25 and 0.75 with a median of 0.38. The GF distributions indicate externally mixed particles covering the whole range of GFs between ~1.0 and 3.0. On average, ~74% of the 500 nm particles had GFs > 1.5, ~15% had GF < 1.1 and the remaining ~1% showed values of 1.1 < GF < 1.5. The more hygroscopic mode sometimes peaked at GF > 2, indicating influence of sea-salt particles, consistent with previous ground-based particle hygroscopicity measurements in this area. The mean dry effective index of refraction for 500 nm particles was found to be rather constant with a value of 1.42 ± 0.04 (mean ± 1SD).

Low hygroscopic scattering enhancement of boreal aerosol and the implications for a columnar optical closure study

Zieger, P.; Aalto, P. P.; Aaltonen, V.; Äijälä, M.; Backman, J.; Hong, J.; Komppula, M.; Krejci, R.; Laborde, M.; Lampilahti, J.; de Leeuw, G.; Pfüller, A.; Rosati, B.; Tesche, M.; Tunved, P.; Väänänen, R.; Petäjä, T.
2015 | Atmos. Chem. Phys. | 15 (7247-7267)

Ambient aerosol particles can take up water and thus change their optical
properties depending on the hygroscopicity and the relative humidity (RH) of
the surrounding air. Knowledge of the hygroscopicity effect is of crucial
importance for radiative forcing calculations and is also needed for the
comparison or validation of remote sensing or model results with in situ
measurements. Specifically, particle light scattering depends on RH and can
be described by the scattering enhancement factor f(RH), which is defined
as the particle light scattering coefficient at defined RH divided by its dry
value (RH<30-40%). Here, we present results of an intensive field campaign carried out in summer 2013 at the SMEAR II station at Hyytiälä, Finland. Ground-based and airborne measurements of aerosol optical, chemical and microphysical properties were conducted. The f(RH) measured at ground level by a humidified nephelometer is found to be generally lower (e.g. 1.63+/-0.22 at RH=85% and lambda=525 nm) than observed at other European sites. One reason is the high organic mass fraction of the aerosol encountered at Hyytiälä to which f(RH) is clearly anti-correlated (R2~0.8). A simplified parametrization of f(RH) based on the measured chemical mass fraction can therefore be derived for this aerosol type. A trajectory analysis revealed that elevated values of f(RH) and the corresponding elevated inorganic mass fraction are partially caused by transported hygroscopic sea spray particles. An optical closure study shows the consistency of the ground-based in situ measurements. Our measurements allow to determine the ambient particle light extinction coefficient using the measured f(RH). By combining the ground-based measurements with intensive aircraft measurements of the particle number size distribution and ambient RH, columnar values of the particle extinction coefficient are determined and compared to columnar measurements of a co-located AERONET sun photometer. The water uptake is found to be of minor importance for the column-averaged properties due to the low particle hygroscopicity and the low RH during the daytime of the summer months. The in situ derived aerosol optical depths (AOD) clearly correlate with directly measured values of the sun photometer but are substantially lower compared to the directly measured values (factor of ~2-3). The comparison degrades for longer wavelengths. The disagreement between in situ derived and directly measured AOD is hypothesized to originate from losses of coarse and fine mode particles through dry deposition within the canopy and losses in the in situ sampling lines. In addition, elevated aerosol layers (above 3 km) from long-range transport were observed using an aerosol lidar at Kuopio, Finland, about 200 km east-north-east of Hyytiälä. These elevated layers further explain parts of the disagreement.

Investigation of the Planetary Boundary Layer in the Swiss Alps Using Remote Sensing and In Situ Measurements

Ketterer, C; Zieger, P; Bukowiecki, N; Collaud Coen, M; Maier, O; Ruffieux, D; Weingartner, E
2014 | Boundary-Layer Meteorology (1-18)
boundary layer , ceilometer , complex topography , in situ measurements , jungfraujoch , remote sensing , switzerland , wind profiler

"The development of the planetary boundary layer (PBL) has been studied in a complex terrain using various remote sensing and in situ techniques. The high-altitude research station at Jungfraujoch (3,580 m a.s.l.) in the Swiss Alps lies for most of the time in the free troposphere except when it is influenced by the PBL reaching the station, especially during the summer season. A ceilometer and a wind profiler were installed at Kleine Scheidegg, a mountain pass close to Jungfraujoch, located at an altitude of 2,061 m a.s.l. Data from the ceilometer were analyzed using two different algorithms, while the signal-to-noise ratio of the wind profiler was studied to compare the retrieved PBL heights. The retrieved values from the ceilometer and wind profiler agreed well during daytime and cloud-free conditions. The results were additionally compared with the PBL height estimated by the numerical weather prediction model COSMO-2, which showed a clear underestimation of the PBL height for most of the cases but occasionally also a slight overestimation especially around noon, when the PBL showed its maximum extent. Air parcels were transported upwards by slope winds towards Jungfraujoch when the PBL was higher than 2,800 m a.s.l. during cloud-free cases. This was confirmed by the in situ aerosol measurements at Jungfraujoch with a significant increase in particle number concentration, particle light absorption and scattering coefficients when PBL-influenced air masses reached the station in the afternoon hours. The continuous aerosol in situ measurements at Jungfraujoch were clearly influenced by the local PBL development but also by long-range transport phenomena such as Saharan dust or pollution from the south."

Influence of water uptake on the aerosol particle light scattering coefficients of the Central European aerosol

Zieger, P; Fierz-Schmidhauser, R; Poulain, L; Müller, T; Birmili, W; Spindler, G; Wiedensohler, A; Baltensperger, U; Weingartner, E
2014 | TELLUS B | 66 (66) (1-14)

The influence of aerosol water uptake on the aerosol particle light scattering was examined at the regional continental research site Melpitz, Germany. The scattering enhancement factor f(RH), defined as the aerosol particle scattering coefficient at a certain relative humidity (RH) divided by its dry value, was measured using a humidified nephelometer. The chemical composition and other microphysical properties were measured in parallel. f(RH) showed a strong variation, e.g. with values between 1.2 and 3.6 at RH=85% and λ=550 nm. The chemical composition was found to be the main factor determining the magnitude of f(RH), since the magnitude of f(RH) clearly correlated with the inorganic mass fraction measured by an aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS). Hysteresis within the recorded humidograms was observed and explained by long-range transported sea salt. A closure study using Mie theory showed the consistency of the measured parameters.

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