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Reconciliation of coarse mode sea-salt aerosol particle size measurements and parameterizations at a subtropical ocean receptor site

Author: Reid, J.S. · Brooks, B. · Crahan, K.K. · Leeuw, G. de · Reid, E.A. · Anderson, F.D. · Hegg, D.A. · Eck, T.F. · O'Neill, N.
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres, 111, 1-26
Identifier: 223072
doi: doi:10.1029/2005JD006200
Article number: D02202
Keywords: Physics · Aerodynamics · Atmospheric aerosols · Atmospheric turbulence · Oceanography · Parameter estimation · Particle size analysis · Spectrometers · Aerosols · Air-sea interaction · Parameterization · Sea salt · Size distribution · Turbulence · Subtropical environment


In August/September of 2001, the R/P FLIP and CIRPAS Twin Otter research aircraft were deployed to the eastern coast of Oahu, Hawaii, as part of the Rough Evaporation Duct (RED) experiment. Goals included the study of the air/sea exchange, turbulence, and sea-salt aerosol particle characteristics at the subtropical marine Pacific site. Here we examine coarse mode particle size distributions. Similar to what has been shown for airborne dust, optical particle counters such as the Forward Scattering Spectrometer Probe (FSSP), Classical Scattering Aerosol Spectrometer Probe (CSASP) and the Cloud Aerosol Spectrometer (CAS) within the Cloud Aerosol and Precipitation Spectrometer (CAPS) instrument systematically overestimate particle size, and consequently volume, for sea salt particles. Ground-based aerodynamic particle sizers (APS) and AERONET inversions yield much more reasonable results. A wing pod mounted APS gave mixed results and may not be appropriate for marine boundary layer studies. Relating our findings to previous studies does much to explain the bulk of the differences in the literature and leads us to conclude that the largest uncertainty facing flux and airborne cloud/aerosol interaction studies is likely due to the instrumentation itself. To our knowledge, there does not exist an in situ aircraft system that adequately measures the ambient volume distribution of coarse mode sea salt particles. Most empirically based sea salt flux parameterizations can trace their heritage to a clearly biased measurement technique. The current "state of the art" in this field prevents any true form of clear sky radiative "closure" for clean marine environments. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.