Size-resolved chemical composition of aerosol particles during a monsoonal transition period over the Indian Ocean

Spencer, MT, Holecek JC, Corrigan CE, Ramanathan V, Prather KA.  2008.  Size-resolved chemical composition of aerosol particles during a monsoonal transition period over the Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres. 113

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aerodynamic lenses, black carbon, climate-change, controlled dimensions, flight mass-spectrometry, indoex 1999, nozzle expansions, optical-properties, particles, single, surface ozone


An aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ATOFMS) was used to measure the size-resolved mixing state of particles over the northern Indian Ocean in October and November 2004. This period was chosen to observe the impact of the monsoonal transition on the size, chemistry, sources, and radiative properties of atmospheric aerosols in the region. Overall, elemental carbon with sulfate (EC-sulfate), biomass/biofuel burning, fresh sea salt (SS), aged sea salt, fly ash, and EC mixed with sea salt were the dominant supermicron particle types, whereas EC-sulfate, biomass/biofuel burning, and fly ash were the dominant submicron particle types. Interestingly, particles composed mostly of aged organic carbon and nitrate were virtually absent during the campaign. This is possibly from low ozone formation in the region or selective scavenging during transport. Notably, during long-range transport periods when an aethalometer measured the highest black carbon concentrations, 77% of submicron particles between 0.5 and 2.5 mm and 71% of EC/soot particles contained an intense (39)K(+) ion (a known tracer for biomass/biofuel combustion). These observations suggest when the air mass originated from India, biofuel combustion represented a significant source of the regional atmospheric brown cloud. The majority (similar to 80%) of EC and biomass/biofuel burning particles were mixed with significant amounts of sulfate due to extensive secondary processing of these particles during transport. EC mixed with sea salt was also observed suggesting the particles had undergone cloud processing and become internally mixed during transport. These measurements support the use of an internal mixture of sulfate with EC/soot and biomass/biofuel burning in models to accurately calculate radiative forcing by aerosols in this region.






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