National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1996

Gravimetric analysis, ionic composition, and associated water mass of the marine aerosol

McInnes, L.M., P.K. Quinn, D.S. Covert, and T.L. Anderson

Atmos. Environ., 30(6), 869–884, doi: 10.1016/1352-2310(95)00354-1 (1996)

Measurements of the total aerosol mass and ionic composition were obtained for submicrometer (Dp ≤ 1.0 µm) aerosol particles from the remote Pacific boundary layer by gravimetric and ion chromatography analysis. Discrepancies were found to exist between the absolute mass determined by the separate techniques suggesting aerosol components in addition to sea salt and sulfate particles exist at significant mass concentrations. The gravimetric mass was equal to or significantly larger than the sum of the ionic masses, suggesting additional aerosol components contribute between 0 and 75% of the submicrometer aerosol mass. Measurements of the elemental composition of individual particles by electron microscopy confirmed the presence of mineral and carbonaceous particles which contributed 0–86% of the total number concentration for the particle-size range of interest. The relative number of submicrometer sulfate particles with respect to the total was low during periods with the largest discrepancy between the gravimetric and ionic mass. The amount of water associated with the submicrometer aerosol at 47% relative humidity made up 29% of the total aerosol mass collected on the filters (and 9% of the total mass at 35%). Laboratory studies determined the relative amount of water associated with sea salt, sulfate, and sodium chloride particles on a filter substrate, with sea-salt particles containing 27% water and ammonium sulfate particles containing only 4% water at 40% r.h.

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