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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 11 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 10, 4459-4477, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-10-4459-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 21 Nov 2017

Research article | 21 Nov 2017

Real-time analysis of insoluble particles in glacial ice using single-particle mass spectrometry

Matthew Osman1, Maria A. Zawadowicz2, Sarah B. Das3, and Daniel J. Cziczo2,4 Matthew Osman et al.
  • 1MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Sciences and Engineering, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
  • 2Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
  • 3Department of Geology and Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
  • 4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

Abstract. Insoluble aerosol particles trapped in glacial ice provide insight into past climates, but analysis requires information on climatically relevant particle properties, such as size, abundance, and internal mixing. We present a new analytical method using a time-of-flight single-particle mass spectrometer (SPMS) to determine the composition and size of insoluble particles in glacial ice over an aerodynamic size range of  ∼ 0.2–3.0µm diameter. Using samples from two Greenland ice cores, we developed a procedure to nebulize insoluble particles suspended in melted ice, evaporate condensed liquid from those particles, and transport them to the SPMS for analysis. We further determined size-dependent extraction and instrument transmission efficiencies to investigate the feasibility of determining particle-class-specific mass concentrations. We find SPMS can be used to provide constraints on the aerodynamic size, composition, and relative abundance of most insoluble particulate classes in ice core samples. We describe the importance of post-aqueous processing to particles, a process which occurs due to nebulization of aerosols from an aqueous suspension of originally soluble and insoluble aerosol components. This study represents an initial attempt to use SPMS as an emerging technique for the study of insoluble particulates in ice cores.

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This study presents the first-time attempt at using time-of-flight single particle mass spectrometry (SPMS) as an emerging online technique for measuring insoluble particles in glacial snow and ice. Using samples from two Greenlandic ice cores, we show that SPMS can constrain the aerodynamic size, composition, and relative abundance of most particulate types on a per-particle basis, reducing the preparation time and resources required of conventional, filter-based particle retrieval methods.
This study presents the first-time attempt at using time-of-flight single particle mass...
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