Hygroscopic properties of aerosol particles in the northeastern Atlantic during ACE-2

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Measurements of the hygroscopic properties of sub-micrometer atmospheric aerosol particles were performed with hygroscopic tandem differential mobility analysers (H-TDMA) at 5 sites in the subtropical north-eastern Atlantic during the second Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-2) from 16 June to 25 July 1997. Four of the sites were in the marine boundary layer and one was, at least occasionally, in the lower free troposphere. The hygroscopic diameter growth factors of individual aerosol particles in the dry particle diameter range 10-440 nm were generally measured for changes in relative humidity (RH) from <10% to 90%. In the marine boundary layer, growth factors at 90% RH were dependent on location, air mass type and particle size. The data was dominated by a unimodal growth distribution of more-hygroscopic particles, although a bimodal growth distribution including less-hygroscopic particles was observed at times, most often in the more polluted air masses. In clean marine air masses the more-hygroscopic growth factors ranged from about 1.6 to 1.8 with a consistent increase in growth factor with increasing particle size. There was also a tendency toward higher growth factors as sodium to sulphate molar ratio increased with increasing sea-salt contribution at higher wind speeds. During outbreaks of European pollution in the ACE-2 region, the growth factors of the largest particles were reduced, but only slightly. Growth factors at all sizes in both clean and polluted air masses were markedly lower at the Sagres, Portugal site due to more proximate continental influences. The frequency of occurrence of less-hygroscopic particles with a growth factor of ca. 1.15 was greatest during polluted conditions at Sagres. The free tropospheric 50 nm particles were predominately less-hygroscopic, with an intermediate growth factor of 1.4, but more-hygroscopic particles with growth factors of about 1.6 were also frequent. While these particles probably originate from within the marine boundary layer, the less-hygroscopic particles are probably more characteristic of lower free tropospheric air masses. For those occasions when measurements were made at 90% and an intermediate 60% or 70% RH, the growth factor G(RH) of the more-hygroscopic particles could be modelled empirically by a power law expression. For the ubiquitous more-hygroscopic particles, the expressions G(RH) = (1 - RH/100)-0.210 for 50 nm Aitken mode particles and G(RH) = (1 - RH/100)-0.233 for 166 nm accumulation mode particles are recommended for clean marine air masses in the north-eastern Atlantic within the range 0 < RH < 95%, and for wind speeds for which the local sea-salt production is small (< ca. 8 m s-1).


  • Erik Swietlicki
  • Jingchuan Zhou
  • David S. Covert
  • Kaarle Hämeri
  • Bernhard Busch
  • Minna Väkeva
  • Ulrike Dusek
  • Olle H. Berg
  • Alfred Wiedensohler
  • Pasi Aalto
  • Jyrki Mäkelä
  • Bengt G. Martinsson
  • Giorgos Papaspiropoulos
  • Besim Mentes
  • Göran Frank
  • Frank Stratmann
External organisations
  • University of Washington
  • University of Helsinki
  • Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS)
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-227
Number of pages27
JournalTellus, Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch