29 Mar 2021

29 Mar 2021

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

Determination of the multiple-scattering correction factor and its cross-sensitivity to scattering and wavelength dependence for different AE33 Aethalometer filter tapes: A multi-instrumental approach

Jesús Yus-Díez1,2, Vera Bernardoni3, Griša Močnik4,5, Andrés Alastuey1, Davide Ciniglia3, Matic Ivančič6, Xavier Querol1, Noemí Perez1, Cristina Reche1, Martin Rigler6, Roberta Vecchi3, Sara Valentini3, and Marco Pandolfi1 Jesús Yus-Díez et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), C/Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2Grup de Meteorologia, Departament de Física Aplicada, Universitat de Barcelona, C/Martí i Franquès, 1, 08028, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Dipartimento di Fisica "A. Pontremoli", Università degli Studi di Milano & INFN-Milan, via Celoria 16, 20133 Milano, Italy
  • 4Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Nova Gorica, Vipavska 11c, SI-5270 Ajdovščina, Slovenia
  • 5Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Jozef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 6Aerosol d.o.o., Ljubljana, Slovenia

Abstract. Accurate measurements of light absorption by aerosolized particles, especially black carbon (BC), are of utter importance since BC represents the second most important climate-warming agent after carbon dioxide (CO2). Reducing the uncertainties related to the absorption measurement techniques will improve the global estimation of BC concentration and the radiative effects of light absorbing aerosols. Currently, one of the most widely used instruments for BC and absorption measurements is the dual-spot aethalometer, AE33, which derives the absorption coefficients of aerosol particles at 7 different wavelengths from the measurements of optical attenuation through a filter where particles are continuously collected. An accurate determination of the absorption coefficient relies on the quantification of non-linear processes related to the collection of sample on the filter. The multiple-scattering correction factor (C(λ)), which depends on the filter tape used and on the optical properties of the collected particles, is the parameter with the greatest uncertainty.

An in-depth analysis of the AE33 multiple-scattering correction factor and its wavelength dependence for different filter tapes, i.e. the old most referenced known as TFE-coated glass and the current most widely used M8060, has been carried out by comparing the AE33 attenuation measurements with the absorption measurements from different filter-based techniques. Online co-located multi-angle absorption photometer (MAAP) measurements and offline PP_UniMI polar photometer measurements were used with this aim. We used data from three different measurement stations in North-East of Spain: an urban background station (Barcelona; BCN), a regional background station (Montseny; MSY) and a mountain-top station (Montsec d'Ares; MSA). The median C values (at 637 nm) measured at the three stations ranged between 2.29 (at BCN and MSY; lowest 5th percentile of 1.97 and highest 95th percentile of 2.68) and 2.51 (at MSA; lowest 5th percentile of 2.06 and highest 95th percentile of 3.06). The C factor was wavelength-dependent only at the mountain-top station, whereas at the urban and regional stations no statistically significant difference was found at the 7 different AE33 wavelengths. The wavelength-dependence of C at the mountain station was in part driven by the predominant effect of dust particles during Saharan dust outbreaks at this station. At the mountain station, neglecting the wavelength dependence of the C factor led to an underestimation of the Absorption Ångström Exponent (AAE) of 12 %. The analysis of the cross-sensitivity to scattering for different filter tapes revealed a large increase of the C factor at the three stations when the single scattering albedo (SSA) of the collected particles was above 0.90–0.95, with up to a 3-fold increase above the average values. The result of the cross-sensitivity to scattering displayed a fitted constant multiple scattering parameter, Cf, of 2.21 and 1.96 and a cross-sensitivity factor, ms, of 0.8 % and 1.7 % for MSY and MSA stations, respectively, for the TFE-coated glass filter tape. For the M8060 filter tape, Cf of 2.50, 1.96, 1.82 and a ms of 0.7 %, 1.5 %, 2.7 %, for BCN, MSY and MSA stations, respectively, were obtained. Differences in the absorption coefficient determined from AE33 measurements at BCN, MSY and MSA of around a 35–40 % can be expected when using the site-dependent C determined experimentally instead of the nominal C value.

Jesús Yus-Díez et al.

Status: open (until 24 May 2021)

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Jesús Yus-Díez et al.

Jesús Yus-Díez et al.


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Short summary
Here we characterize the multiple scattering factor, C, of the dual-spot aethalometer AE33, its cross-sensitivity to scattering and wavelength dependence for 3 background stations: urban, regional, and mountain-top. The C was obtained for two set of filter tapes: M8020 and M8060. The cross-sensitivity to scattering and wavelength dependence of C were determined by intercomparing with other absorption and scattering measurements including multi-angle offline absorption measurements.