Hygroscopic properties and cloud condensation nuclei activation of limonene-derived organosulfates and their mixtures with ammonium sulfate
Abstract:Atmospheric aerosols have the ability to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), initiating the formation of clouds and hereby influencing the climate system. The ability of aerosols to act as CCN is believed to depend on particle size and chemical composition. Organosulfates (OS), e.g sulfate esters, have been observed as constituents of secondary organic aerosols in numerous atmospheric environments, even as far as the Arctic, where OS have been found to comprise 7-15% of total organic matter and 9-11% of submicron organic matter in two independent studies. However, the properties of particulate OS have not yet been investigated.
Here limonene derived OS were synthesized and the hygroscopic properties of these OS and their mixtures with ammonium sulfate (AS) were examined through a series of laboratory experiments.
Laboratory generated particles of limonene-derived OS and AS were analysed using a unique set-up splitting the particle flow between a Hygroscopicity Tandem Diﬀerential Mobility Analyzer and a Cloud Condensation Nuclei counter, enabling simultaneous measurements of hygroscopic growth and CCN activation.
Limonene-derived OS were chosen as study components, since monoterpenes (including limonene) have been identified as important precursors of OS in field samples as well as in smog chamber experiments. AS was used as a representative of the inorganic fraction in atmospheric aerosols.
The preliminary results show that limonene-derived OS exhibit weak hygroscopic growth as well as CCN activation potential, however, not as strong as AS. For the organic-inorganic mixtures, it was observed that AS dominated the hygroscopic properties over the limonene-derived OS and became dictating for the measured values of hygroscopic growth and CCN activation, when the mass fraction of AS reached 20% or above.
The results will be discussed further and supplementary measurements of OS surface tension and water activity will be presented.