Articles | Volume 16, issue 2
Research article
01 Feb 2016
Research article |  | 01 Feb 2016

Cloud condensation nuclei activity, droplet growth kinetics, and hygroscopicity of biogenic and anthropogenic secondary organic aerosol (SOA)

D. F. Zhao, A. Buchholz, B. Kortner, P. Schlag, F. Rubach, H. Fuchs, A. Kiendler-Scharr, R. Tillmann, A. Wahner, Å. K. Watne, M. Hallquist, J. M. Flores, Y. Rudich, K. Kristensen, A. M. K. Hansen, M. Glasius, I. Kourtchev, M. Kalberer, and Th. F. Mentel

Abstract. Interaction of biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with Anthropogenic VOC (AVOC) affects the physicochemical properties of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). We investigated cloud droplet activation (CCN activity), droplet growth kinetics, and hygroscopicity of mixed anthropogenic and biogenic SOA (ABSOA) compared to pure biogenic SOA (BSOA) and pure anthropogenic SOA (ASOA). Selected monoterpenes and aromatics were used as representative precursors of BSOA and ASOA, respectively.

We found that BSOA, ASOA, and ABSOA had similar CCN activity despite the higher oxygen to carbon ratio (O/C) of ASOA compared to BSOA and ABSOA. For individual reaction systems, CCN activity increased with the degree of oxidation. Yet, when considering all different types of SOA together, the hygroscopicity parameter, κCCN, did not correlate with O/C. Droplet growth kinetics of BSOA, ASOA, and ABSOA were comparable to that of (NH4)2SO4, which indicates that there was no delay in the water uptake for these SOA in supersaturated conditions.

In contrast to CCN activity, the hygroscopicity parameter from a hygroscopic tandem differential mobility analyzer (HTDMA) measurement, κHTDMA, of ASOA was distinctively higher (0.09–0.10) than that of BSOA (0.03–0.06), which was attributed to the higher degree of oxidation of ASOA. The ASOA components in mixed ABSOA enhanced aerosol hygroscopicity. Changing the ASOA fraction by adding biogenic VOC (BVOC) to ASOA or vice versa (AVOC to BSOA) changed the hygroscopicity of aerosol, in line with the change in the degree of oxidation of aerosol. However, the hygroscopicity of ABSOA cannot be described by a simple linear combination of pure BSOA and ASOA systems. This indicates that additional processes, possibly oligomerization, affected the hygroscopicity.

Closure analysis of CCN and HTDMA data showed κHTDMA was lower than κCCN by 30–70 %. Better closure was achieved for ASOA compared to BSOA. This discrepancy can be attributed to several reasons. ASOA seemed to have higher solubility in subsaturated conditions and/or higher surface tension at the activation point than that of BSOA.

Short summary
This study investigated the cloud droplet activation behavior and hygroscopic growth of mixed anthropogenic and biogenic SOA (ABSOA) compared to pure biogenic SOA (BSOA) and pure anthropogenic SOA (ASOA). Cloud droplet activation behaviors of different types of SOA were similar. In contrast, the hygroscopicity of ASOA was higher than BSOA and ABSOA. ASOA components enhanced the hygroscopicity of the ABSOA. Yet this enhancement cannot be described by a linear mixing of pure SOA systems.
Final-revised paper