Aerosol physical, chemical and optical properties during the Rocky Mountain Airborne Nitrogen and Sulfur study

National Park Service/Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1375, USA
Atmospheric Environment (Impact Factor: 3.28). 04/2009; 43(11):1932-1939. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.12.042


During the Rocky Mountain Airborne Nitrogen and Sulfur (RoMANS) study, conducted during the spring and summer of 2006, a suite of instruments located near the eastern boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) measured aerosol physical, chemical and optical properties. Three instruments, a differential mobility particle sizer (DMPS), an optical particle counter (OPC), and an aerodynamic particle sizer (APS), measured aerosol size distributions. Aerosols were sampled by an Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) sampler and a URG denuder/filter-pack system for compositional analysis. An Optec integrating nephelometer measured aerosol light scattering. The spring time period had lower aerosol concentrations, with an average volume concentration of 2.2 ± 2.6 μm3 cm−3 compared to 6.5 ± 3.9 μm3 cm−3 in the summer. During the spring, soil was the single largest constituent of PM2.5 mass, accounting for 32%. During the summer, organic carbon accounted for 60% of the PM2.5 mass. Sulfates and nitrates had higher fractional contributions in the spring than the summer. Variability in aerosol number and volume concentrations and in composition was greater in the spring than in the summer, reflecting differing meteorological conditions. Aerosol scattering coefficients (bsp) measured by the nephelometer compared well with those calculated from Mie theory using size distributions, composition data and modeled RH dependent water contents.

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Available from: Sonia M Kreidenweis
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