1Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Université Blaise Pascal, CNRS/INSU, UMR6016, Aubière, France
2Frontier Science Organization, Kanazawa University, Japan
3Norwegian Institute for Air Reasearch (NILU), Kjeller, Norway
4UPMC Univ. Paris 06, Université Versailles St-Quentin, CNRS/INSU, LATMOS-IPSL, UMR8190, Paris, France
Abstract. During the POLARCAT-France airborne measurement campaign in spring 2008, several pollution plumes transported from mid-latitude regions were encountered. The study presented here focuses on air masses from two different geographic origins (Europe and Asia) and from 2 different source types (anthropogenic pollution and forest fires). One case study analyses an European air mass, which was sampled during three consecutive day. Modelling of the aerosol particle ageing by coagulation suggests that coagulation cannot solely explain the evolution of the size distributions, which is particularly true for the accumulation mode. Analyses of the aerosol refractory size distributions indicate that the Aitken mode was mostly composed of volatile compounds, while accumulation mode particles desorbed to a refractory mode yielding a modal mean diameter evolving from 48 to 59 nm for the three consecutive days of sampling the same air mass. The single refractory mode suggests an internally mixed aerosol population which is supported from electron microscopy and subsequent EDX analyses of the accumulation mode particles.
Another case study focuses on European air masses polluted by fire emissions and Asian air masses with contributions from both biomass burning and anthropogenic emissions. On the one hand, the aerosol size distributions of the European biomass burning plumes are almost mono-modal with most of the particles found in the aged accumulation mode which desorbed uniformly. On the other hand, Asian air masses were more complex because of the mixing of different source contributions related to more variable and multimodal ambient and refractory aerosol size distributions. Electron microscopy illustrated soot-like inclusions in several samples. Within samples attributed to forest fire sources, the chemical signature is highly associated with the presence of potassium, which is characteristic for biomass burning plumes. The particle images suggest an internal mixing of sampled aerosol particles.