Relating the hygroscopic properties of submicron aerosol to both gas- and particle-phase chemical composition in a boreal forest environment
Abstract. Measurements of the hygroscopicity of 15–145 nm particles in a boreal forest environment were conducted using two Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (HTDMA) systems during the Pan-European Gas-Aerosols-climate interaction Study (PEGASOS) campaign in spring 2013. Measurements of the chemical composition of non-size segregated particles were also performed using a high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-AMS) in parallel with hygroscopicity measurements. On average, the hygroscopic growth factor (HGF) of particles was observed to increase from the morning until afternoon. In case of accumulation mode particles, the main reasons for this behavior were increases in the ratio of sulfate to organic matter and oxidation level (O : C ratio) of the organic matter in the particle phase. Using an O : C dependent hygroscopic growth factor of organic matter (HGForg), fitted using the inverse Zdanovskii–Stokes–Robinson (ZSR) mixing rule, clearly improved the agreement between measured HGF and that predicted based on HR-AMS composition data. Besides organic oxidation level, the influence of inorganic species was tested when using the ZSR mixing rule to estimate the hygroscopic growth factor of organics in the aerosols. While accumulation and Aitken mode particles were predicted fairly well by the bulk aerosol composition data, the hygroscopicity of nucleation mode particles showed little correlation. However, we observed them to be more sensitive to the gas phase concentration of condensable vapors: the more sulfuric acid in the gas phase, the more hygroscopic the nucleation mode particles were. No clear dependence was found between the extremely low-volatility organics concentration (ELVOC) and the HGF of particles of any size.