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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 May 2019

Submitted as: research article | 24 May 2019

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

Characterisation of the filter inlet system on the BAE-146 research aircraft and its use for size resolved aerosol composition measurements

Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin1, Duncan H. P. Hedges1, Matthew Hiscock2, Simon T. Parker3, Philip D. Rosenberg1, Jamie Trembath4, Richard Walshaw1, Ian T. Burke1, James B. McQuaid1, and Benjamin J. Murray1 Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2Oxford Instruments NanoAnalysis, High Wycombe, HP12 3SE, UK
  • 3Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Salisbury, SP4 0JQ, UK
  • 4Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements, Building 146, Cranfield University, College Road, Cranfield, Bedford, MK43 0AL, UK

Abstract. Atmospheric aerosol particles are important for our planet’s climate because they interact with radiation and clouds. Hence, having characterised methods to collect aerosol from aircraft for detailed offline analysis are valuable. However, collecting aerosol, particularly coarse mode aerosol, onto substrates from a fast moving aircraft is challenging and can result in both losses and enhancement in aerosol. Here we present the characterisation of an inlet system designed for collection of aerosol onto filters on board the UK’s BAe 146 Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) research aircraft. We also present an offline Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) technique for quantifying both the size distribution and size resolved composition of the collected aerosol. We use this SEM technique in parallel with online underwing optical probes in order to experimentally characterise the efficiency of the inlet system. We find that the coarse mode aerosol is sub-isokinetically enhanced, with a peak enhancement at around 10 μm up to a factor of three under typical operating conditions. Calculations show that the efficiency of collection then decreases rapidly at larger sizes. In order to minimise the isokinetic enhancement of coarse mode aerosol we recommend sampling with total flow rates above 50 L min−1; operating the inlet with the bypass fully open helps achieve this by increasing the flow rate through the inlet nozzle. With the inlet characterised, we also present single particle chemical information obtained from X-ray spectroscopy analysis which allows us to group the particles into composition categories. Our intention is to use the composition information in parallel with filter based ice nucleating particle measurements in order to correlate composition and ice nucleating particle concentrations.

Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin 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
Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin et al.
Alberto Sanchez-Marroquin et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Sampling coarse mode aerosol from a fast moving research aircraft is challenging and can be subject to substantial losses and enhancements. We characterise these losses and enhancements for an inlet system designed to collect aerosol onto filters. We go on to present an application of this inlet system where we use electron microscopy to study the size and composition of the collected aerosol particles.
Sampling coarse mode aerosol from a fast moving research aircraft is challenging and can be...