Comparison between CARIBIC Aerosol Samples Analysed by Accelerator-Based Methods and Optical Particle Counter Measurements
Inter-comparison of results from two kinds of aerosol systems in the CARIBIC (Civil Aircraft for the Regular Investigation of the atmosphere Based on a Instrument Container) passenger aircraft based observatory, operating during intercontinental flights at 9–12 km altitude, is presented. Aerosol from the lowermost stratosphere (LMS), the extra-tropical upper troposphere (UT) and the tropical mid troposphere (MT) were investigated. Aerosol particle volume concentration measured with an optical particle counter (OPC) is compared with analytical results of the sum of masses of all major and several minor constituents from aerosol samples collected with an impactor. Analyses were undertaken with the following accelerator-based methods: particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) and particle elastic scattering analysis (PESA). Data from 48 flights during 1 year are used, leading to a total of 106 individual comparisons. The ratios of the particle volume from the OPC and the total mass from the analyses were in 84% within a relatively narrow interval. Data points outside this interval are connected with inlet-related effects in clouds, large variability in aerosol composition, particle size distribution effects and some cases of non-ideal sampling. Overall, the comparison of these two CARIBIC measurements based on vastly different methods show good agreement, implying that the chemical and size information can be combined in studies of the MT/UT/LMS aerosol.