Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 10, issue 16 (2010) pp. 7891-7906
Atmospheric aerosol particles are able to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and are therefore important for the climate and the hydrological cycle, but their properties are not fully understood. Total CCN number concentrations at 10 different supersaturations in the range of SS = 0.12–1.18% were measured in May 2008 at the remote high alpine research station, Jungfraujoch, Switzerland (3580 m a.s.l.). In this paper, we present a closure study between measured and predicted CCN number concentrations. CCN predictions were done using dry number size distribution (scanning particle mobility sizer, SMPS) and bulk chemical composition data (aerosol mass spectrometer, AMS, and multi-angle absorption photometer, MAAP) in a simplified Ko ̈hler theory. The predicted and the measured CCN number concentrations agree very well and are highly correlated. A sensitivity study showed that the temporal variability of the chemical composition at the Jungfraujoch can be neglected for a reliable CCN prediction, whereas it is important to know the mean chemical composition. The exact bias introduced by using a too low or too high hygroscopicity parameter for CCN prediction was further quantified and shown to be substantial for the lowest supersaturation. Despite the high average organic mass fraction (∼45%) in the fine mode, there was no indication that the surface tension was substantially reduced at the point of CCN activation. A comparison between hygroscopicity tandem differential mobility analyzer (HTDMA), AMS/MAAP, and CCN derived κ values showed that HTDMA measurements can be used to determine particle hygroscopicity required for CCN predictions if no suitable chemical composition data are available.
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