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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Aug 2018

Research article | 01 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Aerosol light absorption from attenuation measurements of PTFE-membrane filter samples: implications for particulate matter monitoring networks

Apoorva Pandey1, Nishit J. Shetty1, and Rajan K. Chakrabarty1,2 Apoorva Pandey et al.
  • 1Center for Aerosol Science and Engineering, Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA
  • 2McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA

Abstract. Mass absorption cross-section (MAC) measurements of atmospherically-relevant aerosols are required to quantify their effect on Earth’s radiative budget. Estimating aerosol light absorption from transmittance and/or reflectance measurements through filter deposits is an attractive option because of ease of deployment in field settings and low cost. These measurements suffer from artifacts that depend on a given filter measurement system and type of aerosol. Empirical correction algorithms are available for commercial instruments equipped with optically-thick fiber filters, but optically-thin filter media have not been characterized in detail. Here, we present empirical relationships between particle light absorption–measured using multi-wavelength integrated photoacoustic spectrometers and nephelometers–and attenuation measurements for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane filter samples of carbonaceous aerosols generated from combustion of diverse biomass fuels and kerosene (surrogate for fossil-fuel combustion). We establish a simple, wavelength-independent formulation for calculating aerosol MAC and absorption coefficients from filter attenuation measurements. We find the ratio between in-situ absorption and bulk attenuation to be inversely proportional to aerosol single scattering albedo. As a case study, we apply our formulations on 2010 attenuation datasets of the Interagency Monitoring of PROtected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) network to quantify the overestimation in their filter-based absorption coefficients.

Apoorva Pandey et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Apoorva Pandey et al.
Apoorva Pandey et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This study quantitatively establishes simple-to-use correction factors for accurately estimating particle-phase light absorption properties from bulk-phase attenuation measurements of Teflon filter samples. Using contact-free optical instrumentation with a two-stream radiative transfer model, we developed a wavelength-independent empirical correction formulation by comparing filter attenuation of aerosol-laden Teflon filter samples with in-situ light absorption for a range of real-world fuels.
This study quantitatively establishes simple-to-use correction factors for accurately estimating...