Articles | Volume 14, issue 18
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 10145–10162, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-14-10145-2014
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 10145–10162, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-14-10145-2014

Research article 23 Sep 2014

Research article | 23 Sep 2014

Chemical mass balance of 300 °C non-volatile particles at the tropospheric research site Melpitz, Germany

L. Poulain1, W. Birmili1, F. Canonaco2, M. Crippa2, Z. J. Wu1, S. Nordmann1,*, G. Spindler1, A. S. H. Prévôt2, A. Wiedensohler1, and H. Herrmann1 L. Poulain et al.
  • 1Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), 5232 Villigen, Switzerland
  • *now at: Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Hahn-Meitner-Weg 1, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Abstract. In the fine-particle mode (aerodynamic diameter < 1 μm) non-volatile material has been associated with black carbon (BC) and low-volatile organics and, to a lesser extent, with sea salt and mineral dust. This work analyzes non-volatile particles at the tropospheric research station Melpitz (Germany), combining experimental methods such as a mobility particle-size spectrometer (3–800 nm), a thermodenuder operating at 300 °C, a multi-angle absorption photometer (MAAP), and an aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS). The data were collected during two atmospheric field experiments in May–June 2008 as well as February–March 2009. As a basic result, we detected average non-volatile particle–volume fractions of 11 ± 3% (2008) and 17 ± 8% (2009). In both periods, BC was in close linear correlation with the non-volatile fraction, but not sufficient to quantitatively explain the non-volatile particle mass concentration. Based on the assumption that BC is not altered by the heating process, the non-volatile particle mass fraction could be explained by the sum of black carbon (47% in summer, 59% in winter) and a non-volatile organic contribution estimated as part of the low-volatility oxygenated organic aerosol (LV-OOA) (53% in summer, 41% in winter); the latter was identified from AMS data by factor analysis. Our results suggest that LV-OOA was more volatile in summer (May–June 2008) than in winter (February–March 2009) which was linked to a difference in oxidation levels (lower in summer). Although carbonaceous compounds dominated the sub-μm non-volatile particle mass fraction most of the time, a cross-sensitivity to partially volatile aerosol particles of maritime origin could be seen. These marine particles could be distinguished, however from the carbonaceous particles by a characteristic particle volume–size distribution. The paper discusses the uncertainty of the volatility measurements and outlines the possible merits of volatility analysis as part of continuous atmospheric aerosol measurements.

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