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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 9, issue 10
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 5183–5192, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-9-5183-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: BACCHUS – Impact of Biogenic versus Anthropogenic emissions...

Atmos. Meas. Tech., 9, 5183–5192, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-9-5183-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 24 Oct 2016

Research article | 24 Oct 2016

A broad supersaturation scanning (BS2) approach for rapid measurement of aerosol particle hygroscopicity and cloud condensation nuclei activity

Hang Su1, Yafang Cheng1, Nan Ma2, Zhibin Wang1, Xiaoxiang Wang1, Mira L. Pöhlker1, Björn Nillius1, Alfred Wiedensohler2, and Ulrich Pöschl1 Hang Su et al.
  • 1Multiphase Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 2Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research, 04318 Leipzig, Germany

Abstract. The activation and hygroscopicity of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) are key to the understanding of aerosol–cloud interactions and their impact on climate. They can be measured by scanning the particle size and supersaturation in CCN measurements. The scanning of supersaturation is often time-consuming and limits the temporal resolution and performance of CCN measurements. Here we present a new approach, termed the broad supersaturation scanning (BS2) method, in which a range of supersaturation is simultaneously scanned, reducing the time interval between different supersaturation scans. The practical applicability of the BS2 approach is demonstrated with nano-CCN measurements of laboratory-generated aerosol particles. Model simulations show that the BS2 approach may also be applicable for measuring CCN activation of ambient mixed particles. Due to its fast response and technical simplicity, the BS2 approach may be well suited for aircraft and long-term measurements. Since hygroscopicity is closely related to the fraction of organics/inorganics in aerosol particles, a BS2-CCN counter can also serve as a complementary sensor for fast detection/estimation of aerosol chemical compositions.

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Short summary
In cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) measurements, the supersaturation scan is often time-consuming and limits the temporal resolution of CCN measurements. Here we present a new concept, termed the broad supersaturation scanning (BS2) method, in which a range of supersaturation is simultaneously scanned, resulting in fast measurements of CCN activity.
In cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) measurements, the supersaturation scan is often...
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