Seasonal Differences in Aerosol Chemical Properties at a Site Along the Eastern Seaboard: Observations from the Two-Column Aerosol Project (TCAP)
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
There have been relatively few studies that have quantified the seasonal variability of aerosol chemical and optical properties, as well as cloud-aerosol interactions, over a large portion of the atmospheric column. The Two Column Aerosol Project (TCAP), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) supported study, was designed to address this shortcoming with a combination of both ground-based and airborne measurements. The TCAP measurement strategy focused on the aerosol and cloud properties in two columns, one over Cape Cod, Massachusetts and one several hundred kilometers to the east. TCAP included the year-long deployment of the DOE Atmospheric Measurement Program (ARM) Mobile Facility and two individual month-long deployments of the ARM Aerial Facility, in July 2012 and in February 2013. Our work highlights a number of important differences between the summer and winter study periods, including differences in atmospheric flow patterns, the mass loading and chemical composition of the aerosol. The median mass loading of organic aerosol measured at the surface was much larger during July (2.3 μg m-3) than February (0.88 μg m-3). These differences are likely the result of the small amount of biogenic emissions during the winter as well as the reduction in the amount of sunlight available for photochemistry. The amount of sulfate loading was approximately a factor of two larger during February, with a median value of 0.66 μg m-3 compared to only 0.30 μg m-3 measured during July. The median mass loading of nitrate and ammonium did not vary with season, but these two components make up a much larger fraction of the total aerosol mass loading in the winter. Interestingly, the difference in median refractory black carbon (rBC) measured at the surface did not change much between winter and summer (63 ng m-3 during February compared to 70 ng m-3 in July), but the 75th percentile of rBC mass loading is much larger, 127 ng m-3, during July compared to only 95 ng m-3 during February.