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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-81
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
27 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
On the parametrization of optical particle counter response including instrument-induced broadening of size spectra and a self-consistent evaluation of calibration measurements
Adrian Walser1,2, Daniel Sauer2, Antonio Spanu3, Josef Gasteiger3, and Bernadett Weinzierl3 1Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU), Meteorological Institute, Munich, Germany
2German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
3University of Vienna (UNIVIE), Aerosol Physics and Environmental Physics, Vienna, Austria
Abstract. Optical particle counters (OPCs) are common tools for the in situ measurement of aerosol particle number size distributions. As the actual quantity measured by OPCs is the intensity of light scattered by individual particles, it is necessary to translate the collected distribution of scattering signals into the desired distribution of particle sizes. A crucial part in this challenge is the modeling of OPC response and the calibration of the instrument, i.e. to establish the relation between particle scattering cross-section and measured signal amplitude. To date, existing methods lack a comprehensive parametrization of this instrument response, particularly regarding the instrument-induced broadening of size distribution widths. We introduce an approach overcoming the present shortcomings by implementing a simple parametrization of the broadening effect and a self-consistent way to evaluate calibration measurements using a Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We further outline how to obtain realistic uncertainty estimates for OPC size distributions within this new framework. Measurements of particle standards for two OPCs, the Grimm model 1.129 (SkyOPC) and the DMT Passive Cavity Aerosol Spectrometer Probe (PCASP), show substantial reduction in residuals between measured and modeled response compared to existing methods. For the presented set of measurements only the new approach yields results that are conform with the true size distributions within the range of model uncertainty. The offered approach will help to improve the accuracy of derived size distributions and the assessment of their precision for OPC measurements in general.

Citation: Walser, A., Sauer, D., Spanu, A., Gasteiger, J., and Weinzierl, B.: On the parametrization of optical particle counter response including instrument-induced broadening of size spectra and a self-consistent evaluation of calibration measurements, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-81, in review, 2017.
Adrian Walser et al.
Adrian Walser et al.
Adrian Walser et al.

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