Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-182
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-182

  10 Mar 2021

10 Mar 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Technical note: sea salt interference with black carbon quantification in snow samples using the single particle soot photometer

Marco Zanatta1,a, Andreas Herber1, Zsófia Jurányi1, Oliver Eppers2,3, Johannes Schneider2, and Joshua P. Schwarz4 Marco Zanatta et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung (AWI), Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Particle Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Mainz, Germany
  • 4Chemical Sciences Laboratory, Earth System Research Laboratories, Boulder, CO, USA
  • anow at: LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris-Est-Créteil, Université de Paris, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL), Créteil, France

Abstract. After deposition from the atmosphere, black carbon aerosol (BC) takes part in the snow albedo feedback contributing to modification of the Arctic radiative budget. With the initial goal of quantifying the concentration of BC in the Arctic snow and subsequent climatic impacts, snow samples were collected during the Polarstern expedition PASCAL (Polarstern cruise 106) in the sea ice covered Fram Strait in early summer 2017. The content of refractory BC (rBC) was then quantified in the laboratory of the Alfred Wegener Institute with the single particles soot photometer (SP2). We found strong correlations between both rBC mass concentration and rBC diameter with snow salinity. Therefore, we formulated the hypothesis of a salt-induced matrix effect interfering with the SP2 analysis. By replicating realistic salinity conditions, laboratory experiments indicated a dramatic six-fold reduction in observed rBC concentration with increasing salinity. In the salinity conditions tested in the present work (salt concentration below 0.4 g l−1) the impact of salt on nebulization of water droplets might be negligible. However, the SP2 mass detection efficiency systematically decreased with salinity, with the smaller rBC particles being preferentially undetected. The high concentration of suspended salt particles and the formation of thick salt coating on rBC cores might have caused problems to the SP2 analog-to-digital conversion of the signal and incandescence quenching, respectively. Changes to signal acquisition parameters and laser power of the SP2 improved the mass detection efficiency, which, nonetheless, never attained unity values. The present work provides the evidence that high concentration of sea salt undermines the quantification of rBC in snow performed with the SP2. This interference was never reported and might affect future analysis of rBC particles in snow collected, especially, over sea ice or coastal regions strongly affected by sea salt deposition.

Marco Zanatta et al.

Status: open (until 05 May 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-182', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Apr 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-182', Anonymous Referee #2, 02 Apr 2021 reply

Marco Zanatta et al.

Marco Zanatta et al.

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Short summary
Saline snow samples were collected of the sea ice in the Fram Strait. Laboratory experiments revealed that sea salt can bias the quantification of black carbon with laser induced incandescence technique. The maximum underestimation was quantified to reach values of 80–90 %. This salt induced interference is reported here for the first time and should be considered in future studies aiming to quantify black carbon in snow in marine environments.
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