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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Nov 2019

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

Aerosol hygroscopicity and its link to chemical composition in coastal atmosphere of Mace Head: marine and continental air masses

Wei Xu1,2, Jurgita Ovadnevaite1, Kirsten N. Fossum1, Chunshui Lin2, Ru-Jin Huang2,3, Colin O'Dowd1, and Darius Ceburnis1 Wei Xu et al.
  • 1School of Physics, Ryan Institute's Centre for Climate & Air Pollution Studies, and Marine Renewable Energy Ireland, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, H91CF50 Galway, Ireland
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, and Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 710061 Xi'an, China
  • 3Open Studio for Oceanic-Continental Climate and Environment Changes, Pilot National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology (Qingdao), 266061 Qingdao, China

Abstract. Chemical composition and hygroscopicity closure of marine aerosol in high time resolution has not been yet achieved because of the difficulty in measuring refractory sea-salt concentration in near-real time. In this study, attempts were made to achieve a closure for marine aerosol based on a humidified tandem differential mobility analyser (HTDMA) and a high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) for wintertime aerosol at Mace Head, Ireland. The aerosol hygroscopicity was examined as a growth factor (GF) at 90 % relative humidity (RH). The corresponding GFs of 35, 50, 75, 110 and 165 nm particles were 1.54 ± 0.26, 1.60 ± 0.29, 1.66 ± 0.31, 1.72 ± 0.29 and 1.78 ± 0.30 (mean ± standard deviation), respectively. Two contrasting air masses (continental and marine) were selected to study the temporal variation in hygroscopicity and the results demonstrated a clear diurnal pattern in continental air masses, while no diurnal pattern was found in marine air masses. In addition, the winter time aerosol was observed to be largely externally mixed in both contrasting air masses. Concurrent high time resolution PM1 (particulate matter < 1 µm) chemical composition by combined AMS and MAAP measurements comprising of organic matter, non-sea-salt sulphate, nitrate, ammonium, sea-salt and black carbon (BC) were used in predicting aerosol hygroscopicity using the Zdanovskii–Stokes–Robinson (ZSR) mixing rule. A generally good agreement (r2 = 0.824, slope = 1.02) was found between HTDMA measured growth factor (GF_HDTMA) of 165 nm particles and AMS+MAAP bulk chemical composition derived growth factor (GF_AMS). Over 95 % of the estimated GF exhibited less than 10 % deviation for the whole dataset and the deviation was mostly attributed to the neglected mixing state as a result of bulk PM1 composition.

Wei Xu et al.
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Short summary
A humidified tandem differential mobility analyser (HTDMA) and a high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) have been simultaneously deployed during winter at Mace Head Observatory to characterize the hygroscopicity of marine aerosols and their link to chemical composition. Generally good agreement was found between measured and estimated growth factors. A significant degree of external mixing has been found in all air masses manifesting primary and secondary sources.
A humidified tandem differential mobility analyser (HTDMA) and a high-resolution time-of-flight...