Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Research article
20 Feb 2015
Research article |  | 20 Feb 2015

Experimentally measured morphology of biomass burning aerosol and its impacts on CCN ability

M. Giordano, C. Espinoza, and A. Asa-Awuku

Abstract. This study examines the morphological properties of freshly emitted and atmospherically aged aerosols from biomass burning. The impacts of particle morphology assumptions on hygroscopic predictions are examined. Chamber experiments were conducted at the University of California, Riverside, Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) atmospheric processes lab using two biomass fuel sources: manzanita and chamise. Morphological data was obtained through the use of an aerosol particle mass analyzer (APM), scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) system and transmission electron microscope (TEM). Data from these instruments was used to calculate both a dynamic shape factor and a fractal-like dimension for the biomass burning emissions. This data was then used with κ-Köhler theory to adjust the calculated hygroscopicity for experimentally determined morphological characteristics of the aerosol. Laboratory measurement of biomass burning aerosol from two chaparral fuels show that particles are nonspherical with dynamic shape factors greater than 1.15 for aerosol sizes relevant to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activation. Accounting for particle morphology can shift the hygroscopicity parameter by 0.15 or more. To our knowledge, this work provides the first laboratory chamber measurements of morphological characteristics for biomass burning cloud condensation nuclei and provides experimental particle shape evidence to support the variation in reported hygroscopicities of the complex aerosol.

Final-revised paper