Articles | Volume 10, issue 23
Research article
10 Dec 2010
Research article |  | 10 Dec 2010

Reconciliation of measurements of hygroscopic growth and critical supersaturation of aerosol particles in central Germany

M. Irwin, N. Good, J. Crosier, T. W. Choularton, and G. McFiggans

Abstract. Aerosol physical, chemical and hygroscopic properties were measured in a range of airmasses during COPS (Convective and Orographically-induced Precipitation Study) ground-based in June and July of 2007 at the Hornisgrinde mountain site in the Black Forest, Southwest Germany. Non-refractory aerosol composition was measured with an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer, simultaneous to hygroscopic growth factors at 86% relative humidity and CCN activity measurements for particles of dry (<20%) diameters 27 to 217 nm, with particle water uptake exhibiting substantial variability with time and with particle size.

Variability in the measurements of hygroscopic growth factor and critical supersaturation for particles of similar sizes indicates significant compositional impact on particle water affinity. Critical supersaturation prediction using a single parameter hygroscopicity approximation derived from measured HTDMA mean growth factors deviate, beyond measurement uncertainties, from critical supersaturations derived from CCN measurements. These led to differences averaging around 35% in the number of CCN (NCCN) for the most reliable measurements depending on averaging methodology, often very much larger for individual time periods. This indicates aspects of water uptake behaviour unresolved in this experiment by the single parameter representation which, depending on its origin, may have important consequences on its generalised use.

Final-revised paper