Volatility of Aerosols in the Arid Southwestern United States

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  • 1 US Army Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory, White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002
  • | 2 Department of Physics, University College, Galway, Ireland
  • | 3 US Army Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory, White Sands Missile Range, NM 88002
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Abstract

Volatile properties of aerosols at an isolated rural site in south-central New Mexico were measured with a light-scattering particle counter equipped with a temperature-controlled heated inlet. Intermittent measurements throughout a one-year period show that submicron particles am highly volatile and display temperature-fractionation characteristics of ammonium sulfate or bisulfate. It is estimated that 60–98% of the submicron aerosol fraction (by mass) is composed of these sulfates. Larger supermicron particles with radii r > 0.4 μm, which are composed mostly of quartz and clay minerals of soil origin, are relatively involatile.

Abstract

Volatile properties of aerosols at an isolated rural site in south-central New Mexico were measured with a light-scattering particle counter equipped with a temperature-controlled heated inlet. Intermittent measurements throughout a one-year period show that submicron particles am highly volatile and display temperature-fractionation characteristics of ammonium sulfate or bisulfate. It is estimated that 60–98% of the submicron aerosol fraction (by mass) is composed of these sulfates. Larger supermicron particles with radii r > 0.4 μm, which are composed mostly of quartz and clay minerals of soil origin, are relatively involatile.

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