1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
2Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
3Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
4Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
*now at: Department of Applied Environmental Science, Stockholm University, Sweden
**now at: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Abstract. Submicron aerosol particles collected simultaneously at the mountain peak (2182 m a.s.l.) and at a forested mid-mountain site (1300 m a.s.l.) on Whistler Mountain, British Columbia, Canada, during June and July 2010 were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy for quantification of organic functional groups. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) was applied to the FTIR spectra. Three PMF factors associated with (1) combustion, (2) biogenics, and (3) vegetative detritus, were identified at both sites. The biogenic factor was correlated with both temperature and several volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The combustion factor dominated the submicron particle mass during the beginning of the campaign when the temperature was lower and advection was from the Vancouver area, but as the temperature started to rise in early July the biogenic factor came to dominate as a result of increased emissions of biogenic VOCs and thereby increased formation of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). On average, the biogenic factor represented 69% and 49% of the submicron organic particle mass at Whistler Peak and at the mid-mountain site, respectively. The lower fraction at the mid-mountain site was a result of more vegetative detritus there, and also higher influence from local combustion sources.
The biogenic factor was strongly correlated (r ~ 0.9) to number concentration of particles with diameter (Dp)> 100 nm, whereas the combustion factor was better correlated to number concentration of particles with Dp < 100 nm (r~ 0.4). The number concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) was correlated (r ~ 0.7) to the biogenic factor for supersaturations (S) of 0.2% or higher, which indicates that particle condensational growth from biogenic vapors was an important factor in controlling the CCN concentration for clouds where S≥0.2%. Both the number concentration of particles with Dp > 100 nm and numbers of CCN for S≥0.2% were correlated to temperature. Considering the biogenic influence, these results indicate that temperature was a primary factor controlling these CCN concentrations at 0.2% supersaturation.