Electron Microanalysis of Aerosols Collected at Mauna Loa Observatory During an Asian Dust Storm Event

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Joseph M. Conny1, Robert D Willis2, Diana Luz Ortiz-Montalvo1 and Aidan Colton3, (1)National Institute of Standards and Technology Gaithersburg, Gaithersburg, MD, United States, (2)Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, Research Triangle Park, NC, United States, (3)NOAA Hilo, Hilo, HI, United States
Located in the remote marine free troposphere, the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) represents a clean airshed that can be used to study anthropogenic pollution influences and long-range transport of aerosol particles from the Asian mainland. Because of the global nature of Asian dust storms, the radiative properties of these particles transported long-range can significantly impact global climate. It has been proposed that aerosols transported to MLO during upslope wind conditions (typically daytime) are local in origin while aerosols transported during downslope conditions (typically nighttime) represent long-range transport in the free troposphere.

Twelve PM10 samples (six daytime/nightime pairs) were collected on polycarbonate filters for 72 hours each between March 15 and April 26, 2011. Bulk samples of dust from local sources (road dust, parking lot, lava fields) were collected as well in order to assess the PM10 contribution from local dusts. On March 19-20 the Korea Meteorological Administration documented a significant dust event over the Korean peninsula. Back-trajectory analyses from MLO coupled with local wind speed and wind direction data suggest that this dust event may have been captured during the MLO sampling campaign. MLO samples were analyzed by computer-controlled scanning electron microscopy (CCSEM) coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX) and particles were sorted into compositionally-distinct particle types which were then compared across the sample set. Concentrations of particle types expected to be associated with Asian dust were observed to peak in one pair of daytime/nighttime samples collected between March 22 and March 28. Manual microscopic characterization of suspected Asian dust particles and local dust particles was carried out using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) in conjunction with EDX and focussed ion beam SEM (FIB-SEM) in an effort to characterize differences in physicochemical or radiative properties of local versus long-range transported particles. FIB-SEM analysis allows for the 3-dimensional reconstruction of the composition of selected particles. Particle optical properties are then calculated from the 3-D reconstructions.