Aerosol number size distributions from 3 to 500 nm diameter in the arctic marine boundary layer during summer and autumn

David S. Covert, Alfred Wiedensohler, Pasi Aalto, Jost Heintzenberg, Peter H. Mcmurry, Caroline Leck

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115 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aerosol physics measurements made onboard the Swedish icebreaker Oden in the late Summer and early Autumn of 1991 during the International Arctic Ocean Expedition (IAOE-91) have provided the first data on the size distribution of particles in the Arctic marine boundary layer (MBL) that cover both the number and mass modes of the size range from 3 to 500 nm diameter. These measurements were made in conjunction with atmospheric gas and condensed phase chemistry measurements in an effort to understand a part of the ocean-atmosphere sulfur cycle. Analysis of the particle physics data showed that there were three distinct number modes in the submicrometric aerosol in the Arctic MBL. These modes had geometric mean diameters of around 170 nm. 45 nm and 14 nm referred to as accumulation, Aitken and ultrafine modes, respectively. There were clear minima in number concentrations between the modes that appeared at 20 to 30 nm and at 80 to 100 nm. The total number concentration was most frequently between 30 and 60 particles cm-3 with a mean value of around 100 particles cm-3, but the hourly average concentration varied over two to three orders of magnitude during the 70 days of the expedition. On average, the highest concentration was in the accumulation mode that contained about 45% of the total number, while the Aitken mode contained about 40%. The greatest variability was in the ultrafine mode concentration which is indicative of active, earby sources (nucleation from the gas phase) and sinks; the Aitken and accumulation mode concentrations were much less variable. The ultrafine mode was observed about two thirds of the time and was dominant 10% of the time. A detailed description and statistical analysis of the modal aerosol parameters is presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-212
Number of pages16
JournalTellus, Series B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1996

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