1Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
2CNRS-GAME/Metéo France, 42 av. Gaspard Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse, France
3Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 9300 Gilman Dr., La Jolla CA 92093, USA
*now at: Institute of Aerosol and Sensor Technology, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, 5210 Windisch Klosterzelgstrasse 2, Switzerland
**now at: TSI GmbH, Particle Instruments, 52068 Aachen Neuköllner Strasse 4, Germany
***now at: Ecotech PtyLtd, Knoxfield, Australia
Abstract. Ambient aerosols are a complex mixture of particles with different physical and chemical properties and consequently distinct hygroscopic behaviour. The hygroscopicity of a particle determines its water uptake at subsaturated relative humidity (RH) and its ability to form a cloud droplet at supersaturated RH. These processes influence the Earth's climate and the atmospheric lifetime of the particles.
Cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) number size distributions (i.e. CCN number concentrations as a function of dry particle diameter) were measured close to Paris during the MEGAPOLI campaign in January–February 2010 covering 10 different supersaturations (SS = 0.1–1.0%). The time-resolved hygroscopic mixing state with respect to CCN activation was also derived from these measurements. Simultaneously, a Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyser (HTDMA) was used to measure the hygroscopic growth factor (ratio of wet to dry mobility diameter) distributions at RH = 90%. The aerosol was highly externally mixed and its mixing state showed significant temporal variability. The average particle hygroscopicity was relatively low at subsaturation, RH = 90% (mean hygroscopicity parameter κ = 0.12–0.27) and increased with increasing dry diameter in the range 35–265 nm. The mean κ value, derived from the CCN measurements at supersaturation, ranged from 0.08 to 0.24 at SS = 1.0–0.%.
Two types of mixing state resolved hygroscopicity closure studies were performed comparing the water uptake ability measured below and above saturation. In the first type the CCN counter was coupled with the HTDMA and closure was achieved over the whole range of probed dry diameters, growth factors and supersaturations using the κ-parameterisation for the water activity and assuming surface tension of pure water in the Köhler theory. In the second closure type we compared hygroscopicity distributions derived from parallel monodisperse CCN measurements and HTDMA measurements. Very good agreement was found at all supersaturations which shows that monodisperse CCN measurements are a reliable alternative to determine the hygroscopic mixing state of ambient aerosols.