Gong, Xianda; Wex, Heike; Voigtländer, Jens; Fomba, Khanneh Wadinga; Weinhold, Kay; van Pinxteren, Manuela; Henning, Silvia; Müller, Thomas; Herrmann, Hartmut; Stratmann, Frank

In the framework of the MarParCloud (Marine biological production, organic aerosol particles and marine clouds: a Process Chain) project, measurements were carried out on the islands of Cabo Verde (a.k.a. Cape Verde) to investigate the abundance, properties and sources of aerosol particles in general, and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in particular, both close to sea level and at the cloud level.

A thorough comparison of particle number concentration (PNC), particle number size distribution (PNSD) and CCN number concentration (inline-formulaNCCN) at the Cape Verde Atmospheric Observatory (CVAO, sea-level station) and Monte Verde (MV, cloud-level station) reveals that during times without clouds the aerosols at CVAO and MV are similar and the boundary layer is generally well mixed. Therefore, data obtained at CVAO can be used to describe the aerosol particles at cloud level. Cloud events were observed at MV during roughly 58 % of the time, and during these events a large fraction of particles was activated to cloud droplets.

A trimodal parameterization method was deployed to characterize PNC at CVAO. Based on number concentrations in different aerosol modes, four well-separable types of PNSDs were found, which were named the marine type, mixture type, dust type1 and dust type2. Aerosol particles differ depending on their origins. When the air masses came from the Atlantic Ocean, sea spray can be assumed to be one source for particles besides new particle formation. For these air masses, PNSDs featured the lowest number concentration in Aitken, accumulation and coarse modes. Particle number concentrations for sea spray aerosol (SSA, i.e., the coarse mode for these air masses) accounted for about 3.7 % of inline-formulaNCCN,0.30 % (CCN number concentration at 0.30 % supersaturation) and about 1.1 % to 4.4 % of inline-formulaNtotal (total particle number concentration). When the air masses came from the Sahara, we observed enhanced Aitken, accumulation and coarse mode particle number concentrations and overall increased inline-formulaNCCN; inline-formulaNCCN,0.30 % during the strongest observed dust periods is about 2.5 times higher than that during marine periods. However, the particle hygroscopicity parameter inline-formulaκ for these two most different periods shows no significant difference and is generally similar, independent of air mass.

Overall, inline-formulaκ averaged 0.28, suggesting the presence of organic material in particles. This is consistent with previous model work and field measurements. There is a slight increase in inline-formulaκ with increasing particle size, indicating the addition of soluble, likely inorganic, material during cloud processing.

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Gong, Xianda / Wex, Heike / Voigtländer, Jens / et al: Characterization of aerosol particles at Cabo Verde close to sea level and at the cloud level – Part 1: Particle number size distribution, cloud condensation nuclei and their origins. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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