02 Jun 2022
02 Jun 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Thermal-optical analysis of snow samples – challenges and perspectives introduced via the occurrence of mineral dust

Daniela Kau1, Marion Greilinger2, Bernadette Kirchsteiger1, Aron Göndör1, Christopher Herzig1, Andreas Limbeck1, Elisabeth Eitenberger1, and Anne Kasper-Giebl1 Daniela Kau et al.
  • 1Institute of Technologies and Analytics, TU Wien, Vienna, 1060, Austria
  • 2Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG), Vienna, 1190, Austria

Abstract. The determination of mineral dust and elemental carbon in snow samples is of great interest, as both compounds are known as light absorbing snow impurities. Different analytical methods have to be used to quantify both compounds. Still, the occurrence of mineral dust, which contains hematite, leads to a bias in the quantification of elemental carbon via thermal-optical analysis. Here we present an approach which utilizes this interference to determine the concentration of hematite via thermal-optical analysis using a Lab OC/EC Aerosol Analyzer (Sunset Laboratory Inc.) and the EUSAAR2 protocol. Therefore, the temperature dependency of the transmittance signal determined during the calibration phase, i.e. when all carbonaceous compounds are already removed, is evaluated. Converting the transmittance signal into an attenuation, a linear relationship between this attenuation and the hematite loading is obtained for loadings ranging from 10 to 100 µgFe cm-2. Furthermore, the approach allows to identify samples which need to be re-evaluated, as the analysis of elemental carbon is biased by mineral dust. We discuss the successful application of the method, designed for snow samples, to ambient air samples containing mineral dust, and the limitations of the method when other iron compounds besides hematite are present.

Daniela Kau et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-145', X. Wang, 22 Jun 2022
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Daniela Kau, 04 Aug 2022
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-145', Jonas Svensson, 23 Jun 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Daniela Kau, 04 Aug 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2022-145', X. Wang, 26 Jun 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Daniela Kau, 04 Aug 2022

Daniela Kau et al.

Daniela Kau et al.


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Short summary
Concentrations of elemental carbon (EC) and mineral dust (MD) in snow are investigated due to their effect on the surface albedo. If thermal-optical analysis is used, EC concentrations will be biased by the MD content. We present a method that utilizes this interference to identify samples influenced by MD and quantify hematite in snow samples, which may be used as a proxy for MD. Furthermore, possibilities and limitations to apply this method to particulate matter samples are discussed.