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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-791
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 07 Aug 2018

Research article | 07 Aug 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Variations in the physicochemical and optical properties of natural aerosols in Puerto Rico – Implications for climate

Héctor Rivera1, John A. Ogren2,3, Elisabeth Andrews3, and Olga L. Mayol-Bracero4 Héctor Rivera et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 2Earth Systems Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, Colorado
  • 3Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
  • 4Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Abstract. Since 2005, we have monitored the physicochemical and optical properties of aerosols at the Cape San Juan Atmospheric Observatory, Puerto Rico. Based on the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated trajectories (HYSPLIT) and satellite imagery from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC) in Washington D.C., Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and Saharan air layer (SAL) images, we grouped natural aerosols in three categories: marine, African dust and volcanic ash. A sun-sky radiometer from the NASA’s AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) assessed the total aerosol optical depth and its fine fraction. A 3-wavelength nephelometer and particle soot absorption photometer assessed the scattering and absorption coefficients. Two impactors segregated the submicron (Dp < 1µm) particles from the total (Dp < 10µm) enabling us to calculate the sub-micron scattering and absorption fractions. The measured variables served to calculate the single scattering albedo and radiative forcing efficiency. All variables except the single scattering albedo making up the aerosol climatology for Puerto Rico had different means as function of the aerosol category at p < 0.05. For the period 2005–2010, the largest means ±95% confidence interval of the scattering coefficient (53 ± 4Mm−1), absorption coefficient (1.8 ± 0.16Mm−1), and optical depth (0.29 ± 0.03), suggested African dust is the main contributor to the columnar and surface aerosol loading in summer. About two thirds (63%) of the absorption in African dust was due to the coarse mode and about one third due to the fine mode. In volcanic ash, fine aerosols contributed 60% of the absorption while coarse contributed 40%. Overall, the coarse and fine modes accounted for ~80% and 20% of the total scattering. The African dust load was 3.5 times the load of clean marine, 1.9 times greater than the clean marine with higher sea salt content, and 1.7 times greater than volcanic ash. African dust caused 50% more cooling than that volcanic ash at the top of the atmosphere and 50% more heating than that of volcanic ash within the marine boundary layer (MBL).

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This paper is about the variations of the physicochemical and optical properties of natural aerosols in Puerto Rico. We compare/contrast the implications of the loads, sizes, scattering, and absorbing properties of marine, African dust, and volcanic aerosols in the radiative forcing efficiency. We discuss how we classified these aerosols by source and their relative contribution to the radiative forcing efficiency. We contrast the change in temperature due to African dust and volcanic aerosols.
This paper is about the variations of the physicochemical and optical properties of natural...
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