Submicrometer aerosol particle size distribution and hygroscopic growth measured in the Amazon rain forest during the wet season



[1] The number-size distribution and hygroscopic growth of submicrometer aerosol particles were measured in central Amazonia during the first Cooperative LBA Airborne Regional Experiment (CLAIRE) wet season experiment in March–April 1998. This was the first time ever that these types of measurements were performed in the Amazon rain forest. A Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (DMPS) was used to measure aerosol number-size distribution with diameters in the range 3–850 nm. The observed total number concentrations were frequently between 300 and 600 cm−3 with a mean value around 450 cm−3. Two aerosol particle modes (Aitken and accumulation mode) were always present. The average particle concentrations for those two modes were 239 and 177 cm−3, with geometric diameters of 68 and 151 nm, respectively. An ultrafine mode had a number concentration and a mean diameter of 92 cm−3 and 24 nm, respectively, and only occurred at 18% of the time, causing the size distribution to be trimodal instead of bimodal. The hygroscopic growth of aerosol particles was measured in situ with a Hygroscopic Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (H-TDMA) at six dry particle diameters between 35 and 265 nm. In contrast to the bimodal hygroscopic behavior found in polluted continental environments, the hygroscopic properties of aerosol particles in the Amazon rain forest is essentially unimodal with average diameter growth factors of 1.16–1.32 from dry to 90% relative humidity (RH). Aerosol soluble volume fractions were, in general, between 0.14 and 0.27, estimated by assuming that only ammonium hydrogen sulphate interacted with water vapour.