Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Aircraft observations of meteorological, trace gas, and aerosol properties were made during May–September 2013 in the southeastern United States (US) under fair-weather, afternoon conditions with well-defined planetary boundary layer structure. Optical extinction at 532 nm was directly measured at relative humidities (RHs) of ∼ 15, ∼ 70, and ∼ 90 % and compared with extinction calculated from measurements of aerosol composition and size distribution using the κ-Köhler approximation for hygroscopic growth. The calculated enhancement in hydrated aerosol extinction with relative humidity, f(RH), calculated by this method agreed well with the observed f(RH) at ∼ 90 % RH. The dominance of organic aerosol, which comprised 65 ± 10 % of particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter < 1 µm in the planetary boundary layer, resulted in relatively low f(RH) values of 1.43 ± 0.67 at 70 % RH and 2.28 ± 1.05 at 90 % RH. The subsaturated κ-Köhler hygroscopicity parameter κ for the organic fraction of the aerosol must have been < 0.10 to be consistent with 75 % of the observations within uncertainties, with a best estimate of κ = 0.05. This subsaturated κ value for the organic aerosol in the southeastern US is broadly consistent with field studies in rural environments. A new, physically based, single-parameter representation was developed that better described f(RH) than did the widely used gamma power-law approximation.
Brock, Charles A.; Wagner, Nicholas L.; Attwood, Alexis R.; Campuzano-Jost, Pedro; Day, Douglas A.; and Jimenez, Jose L., "Aerosol optical properties in the southeastern United States in summer - Part 1: Hygroscopic growth" (2016). Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Faculty Contributions. 6.