Laboratory studies of the cloud droplet activation properties and corresponding chemistry of saline playa dust

TitleLaboratory studies of the cloud droplet activation properties and corresponding chemistry of saline playa dust
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsGaston C.J, Pratt K.A, Suski KJ, May N.W, Gill T.E, Prather KA
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Date Published2017/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0013-936X
Accession NumberWOS:000393738700041
Keywordsaerosol-particles; california; ccn activation; condensation nuclei activity; mass-spectrometer; mineral dust; nitric-acid; owens dry lake; precipitation; water-uptake

Playas emit large quantities of dust that can facilitate the activation of cloud droplets. Despite the potential importance of playa dusts for cloud formation, most climate models assume that all dust is nonhygroscopic; however, measurements are needed to clarify the role of dusts in aerosol-cloud interactions. Here, we report measurements of CCN activation from playa dusts and parameterize these results in terms of both kappa-Kohler theory and adsorption activation theory for inclusion in atmospheric models. kappa ranged from 0.002 +/- 0.001 to 0.818 +/- 0.094, whereas Frankel-Halsey-Hill (FHH) adsorption parameters of A(FHH) = 2.20 +/- 0.60 and B-FHH = 1.24 +/- 0.14 described the water uptake properties of the dusts. Measurements made using aerosol time-of flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS) revealed the presence of halite, sodium sulfates, and sodium carbonates that were strongly correlated with kappa underscoring the role that mineralogy, including salts, plays in water uptake by dust. Predictions of kappa made using bulk chemical techniques generally showed good agreement with measured values. However, several samples were poorly predicted suggesting that chemical heterogeneities as a function of size or chemically distinct particle surfaces can determine the hygroscopicity of playa dusts. Our results further demonstrate the importance of dust in aerosol-cloud interactions.

Short TitleEnviron. Sci. Technol.
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