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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-21
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-21
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  28 Jan 2020

28 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

On-line determination of the chemical composition of single activated cloud condensation nuclei – a first investigation of single urban CCN and CCN obtained from sea water samples

Carmen Dameto de España1, Anna Wonaschuetz1, Gerhard Steiner1,3, Harald Schuh1, Constantinos Sioutas2, and Regina Hitzenberger1 Carmen Dameto de España et al.
  • 1Aerosol Physics and Environmental Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 3620, USA
  • 3Grimm Aerosol Technik Ainring, 83404 Ainring, Germany

Abstract. Cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) play an important role in cloud microphysics and are crucial for the second indirect effect of aerosols on global climate. One of the uncertainties in calculations of the indirect effect is due to insufficient data on CCN activation. The formation and growth processes of aerosol particles which subsequently become CCN determine their chemical composition. Due to the numerous organic and inorganic components present in atmospheric aerosol particles, a determination of the chemical composition of individual CCN is still challenging. To expand our understanding of activation of real-world CCN we introduce a novel method to characterize the chemical composition of single activated CCN in their droplet state. This method consists of a coupling of two essential instruments, a CCN-VACES (Cloud Condensation Nuclei-Versatile Aerosol Concentration Enrichment System) which is a modification of the original VACES to select and enrich CCN concentrations, and a Laser Ablation Aerosol Particle Time of Flight mass spectrometer (LAAPTOF), a single particle mass spectrometer. In the CCN-VACES, an aerosol flow is exposed to a specific water vapour supersaturation (in this study: 0.035 %, 0.054 %, 0.1 % and 0.6 %, respectively) and the CCN in the flow grow to droplets if their critical supersaturation is exceeded. These grown droplets are subsequently enriched in concentration by means of a virtual impactor at the end of the growth region by a factor of ca. 16 and pass directly into a LAAPTOF to measure the chemical composition of individual activated droplets. Contrary to widely held beliefs, the LAAPTOF is able to analyse refractory and non-refractory components even in aqueous droplets and can therefore be used to determine the chemical composition of actually activated CCN in their droplet state. Single particle spectra (for both positive and negative ions) were obtained from activated CCN in the ambient aerosol as well as activated CCN originating from aerosolized sea water samples collected at two different regions (Palma de Mallorca and San Sebastián, Spain). Ambient CCN were found to contain sometimes highly complex mixtures of different carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous components. Sea water derived CCN show the expected content of sea salt constituents, but the presence of organics is also observed. Activated CCN from the San Sebastián water samples have stronger sulphate signals than the Mallorca water sample. The LAAPTOF was found to provide insights into the composition of individual activated CCN.

Carmen Dameto de España et al.

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Carmen Dameto de España et al.

Carmen Dameto de España et al.

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