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On the concentration and size distribution of sub-micron aerosol in the Galápagos Islands

AuthorsSorribas, M.; Gómez Martín, J. C.; Hay, T.D.; Mahajan, A.S.; Cuevas, C.A.; Agama Reyes, M.V.; Paredes Mora, F.; Gil-Ojeda, M.; Saiz-Lopez, A.
Issue Date2015
CitationAtmospheric Environment 123: 39- 48 (2015)
AbstractDuring the CHARLEX campaign in the Galápagos Islands, a Scanning Particle Mobility Sizer was deployed on San Cristobal Island in July-August 2011 to carry out size-resolved measurements of the concentration of submicron aerosols. To our knowledge these are the first measurements of aerosol concentrations in this unique environment. The particles with marine origin displayed a tri-modal number size distribution with peak diameters of 0.016 μm, 0.050 μm and 0.174 μm and a cloud-processed intermodal minimum at 0.093 μm. The mean total aerosol number concentration for the marine contribution was 470 ± 160 cm. A low particle concentration of 70 ± 50 cm for the nucleation size range was measured, but no evidence of new particle production in the atmospheric marine boundary layer (MBL) was observed. The concentration of the Aitken size mode was found to be related to aerosol entrainment from the free troposphere off the coast of Chile followed by transport within the MBL to the Galápagos Islands. Cloud processing may activate the particles in the Aitken size range, growing through 'in-cloud' sulphate production and increasing the particle concentration in the accumulation size range. The 0.093 μm cloud processed minima suggests that the critical supersaturation at which the particle is activated to a cloud droplet is in the 0.14-0.21% range. The daytime marine particle background concentration was influenced by human activity around the sampling site, as well as by new particle formation triggered by biogenic emissions from the vegetation cover of the island's semiarid lowlands. Effective CCN formation may play a role in the formation and properties of the stratus clouds, which permanently cover the top of the windward side of the islands and establish one of their characteristic climatic bands.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.10.028
issn: 1873-2844
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