National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2005

Dominance of organic aerosols in the marine boundary layer over the Gulf of Maine during NEAQS 2002 and their role in aerosol light scattering

Bates, T.S., P.K. Quinn, D.J. Coffman, J.E. Johnson, and A.M. Middlebrook

J. Geophys. Res., 110(D18), D18202, doi: 10.1029/2005JD005797 (2005)

Aerosol chemical, physical, and optical measurements were made aboard the NOAA R/V Ronald H. Brown off the coast of New England from July 12 through August 10, 2002, as part of the New England Air Quality Study (NEAQS). Measurements (generally 20 to 100 km from the coast) were made downwind of urban centers (New York City, Boston) and rural areas, and in air masses that had not been in contact with land for several days. On average during NEAQS, 75 ± 8% of the sub-10 µm aerodynamic diameter dry aerosol mass sampled 18 m above the sea surface was in the sub-1 µm fraction (size cut at 55% RH). The major submicrometer aerosol components were ammonium sulfate and particulate organic matter (POM, defined here as 1.6 times the mass concentration of organic carbon) comprising more than 92 ± 4% of the total mass. Under northwesterly flow with an average submicrometer total mass concentrations of 11 ± 4.5 µg m, POM was the dominant component (68 ± 8%) followed by (NH4)xHvSO4 (23 ± 8%), inorganic oxidized material (IOM) (6 ± 4%), and EC (3 ± 1%). Under southwesterly flow with an average submicrometer total mass concentrations of 30 ± 11 µg m−3, (NH4)xHvSO4 was the dominant component (54 ± 9%) followed by POM (41 ± 9%), IOM (3 ± 2%), and EC (2 ± 1%). Mie calculations using submicrometer nonrefractory (NR) POM and NR (NH4)xHvSO4 + H2O size distributions to calculate submicrometer light scattering (σsp) at a wavelength of 550 nm suggest that POM was a dominant chemical component contributing to aerosol light scattering (haze) during NEAQS 2002, and contributed 60 ± 6% and 57 ± 11% to σsp at 55% RH during two pollution episodes off the New England Coast. These results are similar to those from the mid-Atlantic states during TARFOX but contrary to the long-term monitoring measurements over the continental northeast United States that show the New England haze is primarily a result of sulfate aerosol.

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