Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 30877-30918, 2011
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Mass-based hygroscopicity parameter interaction model and measurement of atmospheric aerosol water uptake
E. Mikhailov1,2, V. Merkulov2, S. Vlasenko2, D. Rose1, and U. Pöschl1
1Biogeochemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2Atmospheric Physics Department, Institute of Physics, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia

Abstract. In this study we derive and apply a mass-based hygroscopicity parameter interaction model for efficient description of concentration-dependent water uptake by atmospheric aerosol particles. The model approach builds on the single hygroscopicity parameter model of Petters and Kreidenweis (2007). We introduce an observable mass-based hygroscopicity parameter κm, which can be deconvoluted into a dilute intrinsic hygroscopicity parameter (κm,∞) and additional self- and cross-interaction parameters describing non-ideal solution behavior and concentration dependencies of single- and multi-component systems.

For sodium chloride, the κm-interaction model (KIM) captures the observed concentration and humidity dependence of the hygroscopicity parameter and is in good agreement with an accurate reference model based on the Pitzer ion-interaction approach (Aerosol Inorganic Model, AIM). For atmospheric aerosol samples collected from boreal rural air and from pristine tropical rainforest air (secondary organic aerosol) we present first mass-based measurements of water uptake over a wide range of relative humidity (1–99%) obtained with a new filter-based differential hygroscopicity analyzer (FDHA) technique. By application of KIM to the measurement data we can distinguish three different regimes of hygroscopicity in the investigated aerosol samples: (I) A quasi-eutonic regime at low relative humidity (~60% RH) where the solutes co-exist in an aqueous and non-aqueous phase; (II) a gradually deliquescent regime at intermediate humidity (~60%–90% RH) where different solutes undergo gradual dissolution in the aqueous phase; and (III) a dilute regime at high humidity (≳90% RH) where the solutes are fully dissolved approaching their dilute intrinsic hygroscopicity. The characteristic features of the three hygroscopicity regimes are similar for both samples, while the RH threshold values vary as expected for samples of different chemical composition.

In each regime, the concentration dependence of κm can be described by a simple KIM model equation based on observable mass growth factors and six fit parameters summarizing the combined effects of the dilute intrinsic hygroscopicity and interaction parameters of all involved chemical components. One of the fit parameters represents κm,∞ and can be used to predict CCN activation diameters as a function of water vapor supersaturation. For sodium chloride reference particles as well as for pristine rainforest aerosols consisting mostly of secondary organic matter, we obtained good agreement between the predicted and measured critical diameters of CCN activation.

The application of KIM and mass-based measurement techniques shall help to bridge gaps in the current understanding of water uptake by atmospheric aerosols: (1) the gap between hygroscopicity parameters determined by HTDMA (hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer) or FDHA measurements under sub-saturated conditions and by CCN measurements at water vapor supersaturation, and (2) the gap between the results of simplified single parameter models widely used in atmospheric or climate science and the results of complex multi-parameter ion- and molecule-interaction models frequently used in physical chemistry and thermodynamics (AIM, E-AIM, UNIFAC, AIOMFAC etc.).

Citation: Mikhailov, E., Merkulov, V., Vlasenko, S., Rose, D., and Pöschl, U.: Mass-based hygroscopicity parameter interaction model and measurement of atmospheric aerosol water uptake, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 30877-30918, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-30877-2011, 2011.
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