Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-259
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-259

  13 Sep 2021

13 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Estimation of sulfuric acid concentrations using ambient ion composition and concentration data obtained by ion mass spectrometry measurements (APi-TOF)

Lisa Johanna Beck1, Siegfried Schobesberger2, Veli-Matti Kerminen1,4, and Markku Kulmala1,3,4,5 Lisa Johanna Beck et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
  • 3Aerosol and Haze Laboratory, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Sciences and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT), Beijing, China
  • 4Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 5Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Abstract. Sulfuric acid (H2SO4, SA) is the key compound in atmospheric new particle formation. Therefore, it is crucial to observe its concentration with sensitive instrumentation, such as chemical ionisation inlets coupled to Atmospheric Pressure interface Time-of-Flight mass spectrometers (CI-APi-TOF). However, there are environmental conditions and physical reasons when chemical ionisation cannot be used, for example in certain remote places or flight measurements with limitations regarding chemicals. In these cases, it is important to estimate the SA concentration based on ambient ion composition and concentration measurements that are achieved by APi-TOF alone. Here we derive a theoretical expression to estimate SA concentration and validate it with accurate CI-APi-TOF observations. The developed estimate works very well during daytime and with SA concentrations above 2⋅106 cm-3.

Lisa Johanna Beck et al.

Status: open (until 19 Oct 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Lisa Johanna Beck et al.

Lisa Johanna Beck et al.

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Short summary
Sulfuric acid is known to be a main compound in atmospheric new particle formation. Yet, its concentration is very low, which leads to challenges when detecting it. In our study, we derive the sulfuric acid concentration based on measurements of ambient ions with a mass spectrometer. Our validation shows, that the theoretical approach using the bisulfate ion and its clusters with H2SO4 captures the sulfuric acid concentration very well during daytime.