Prediction of cloud condensation nucleus number concentration using measurements of aerosol size distributions and composition and light scattering enhancement due to humidity

A cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) closure experiment is carried out using data from the Chebogue Point, Nova Scotia, ground site during the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT) field experiment in 2004. The number concentration of CCN at five supersaturations (∼0.07% to ∼0.5%) is predicted from measurements of aerosol size distribution, composition, and hygroscopic growth and is compared to measured CCN concentrations. It is shown that CCN can be predicted quite reliably using measured size distributions, a simple aerosol model to derive the solute-to-water mole ratio, and the diameter growth factor g(RH) or the optical growth factor f(RH). The mean error ranges from an overestimate in CCN of ≤5% at high supersaturation to a factor of 2.4 at low supersaturation with regression coefficients r2 of 0.90 and 0.53, respectively. The poor agreement at low supersaturation is primarily a result of high flow rates in the CCN counter that prevented small particles from growing to detectable sizes. Precise knowledge of the temperature gradient, and flow rates of the instrument, is essential to establish the correct supersaturation, particularly at low supersaturation, where errors translate into a large percentage of the activated number. There may also be some contribution from simplified composition assumptions, e.g., neglecting variability with size and/or mixing state. The mostly oxygenated organic aerosol could be modeled as insoluble, within the above uncertainties, from the point of view of hygroscopicity and activation. The generality of these conclusions will have to be tested at other locations. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union.


Published in:
Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 112
Year:
2007
Publisher:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN:
0148-0227
Keywords:
Laboratories:




 Record created 2018-10-15, last modified 2019-12-05


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