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

Research article 22 Mar 2019

Research article | 22 Mar 2019

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

Aerosol size distributions during the Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission: methods, uncertainties, and data products

Charles A. Brock1, Christina Williamson1,2, Agnieszka Kupc1,2, Karl Froyd1,2, Frank Erdesz1,2, Nicholas Wagner1,2, Matthews Richardson1,2, Joshua P. Schwarz1, Ru-Shan Gao1, Joseph M. Katich1,2, Pedro Campuzano-Jost2,3, Benjamin A. Nault2,3, Jason C. Schroder2,3, Jose L. Jimenez2,3, Bernadett Weinzierl4, Maximillian Dollner4, Thao Paul Bui5, and Daniel M. Murphy1 Charles A. Brock et al.
  • 1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, 80305, USA
  • 2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, 80309, USA
  • 3Department of Chemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, 80309, USA
  • 4Faculty of Physics, Aerosol Physicsand Environmental Physics, University of Vienna, 1090 Wien, Austria
  • 5Atmospheric Science Branch, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, 94035, USA

Abstract. From 2016–2018 a DC-8 aircraft operated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) made four series of flights, profiling the atmosphere from 150 m to ~ 12 km above sea level from the Arctic to the Antarctic over both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This program, the Atmospheric Tomography (ATom) mission, sought to sample the troposphere in a representative manner, making measurements of atmospheric composition in each season. This paper describes the aerosol microphysical measurements and derived quantities obtained during this mission. Dry size distributions from 2.7 nm to 4.8 µm in diameter were measured in-situ at 1 Hz using a battery of instruments: 10 condensation particle counters with different nucleation diameters, two ultra-high sensitivity aerosol size spectrometers (UHSAS), one of which measured particles surviving heating to 300 °C, and a laser aerosol spectrometer (LAS). The dry aerosol measurements were complemented by size distribution measurements from 0.5–930 µm diameter at near-ambient conditions using a cloud, aerosol, and precipitation spectrometer (CAPS) mounted under the wing of the DC-8. Dry aerosol number, surface area, and volume, and optical scattering and asymmetry parameter at several wavelengths from the near-UV to the near-IR were calculated from the measured dry size distributions (2.7 nm to 4.8 µm). Dry aerosol mass was estimated by combining the size distribution data with particle density estimated from independent measurements of aerosol composition with a high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer and a single particle soot photometer. This paper briefly describes the instrumentation and fully documents the aircraft inlet and flow distribution system, the derivation of uncertainties, and the calculation of data products from combined size distributions. Comparisons between the instruments and direct measurements of some aerosol properties confirm that in-flight performance was consistent with calibrations and within stated uncertainties for the two deployments analyzed. The unique ATom dataset contains accurate, precise, high-resolution in-situ measurements of dry aerosol size distributions, and integral parameters, and estimates and measurements of optical properties, for particles < 4.8 µm in diameter that can be used to evaluate aerosol abundance and processes in global models.

Charles A. Brock et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: open (until 17 May 2019)
Status: open (until 17 May 2019)
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Charles A. Brock et al.
Data sets

ATom: Merged atmospheric chemistry, trace gases, and aerosols S. C. Wofsy, S. Afshar, H. M. Allen, E. Apel, E. C. Asher, B. Barletta, J. Bent, H. Bian, B. C. Biggs, D. R. Blake, N. Blake, I. Bourgeois, C. A. Brock, W. H. Brune, J. W. Budney, T. P. Bui, A. Butler, P. Campuzano-Jost, C. S. Chang, M. Chin, R. Commane, G. Correa, J. D. Crounse, P. D. Cullis, B. C. Daube, D. A. Day, J. M. Dean-Day, J. E. Dibb, J. P. DiGangi, G. S. Diskin, M. Dollner, J. W. Elkins, F. Erdesz, A. M. Fiore, C. M. Flynn, K. Froyd, D. W. Gesler, S. R. Hall, T. F. Hanisco, R. A. Hannun, A. J. Hills, E. J. Hintsa, A. Hoffman, R. S. Hornbrook, L. G. Huey, S. Hughes, J. L. Jimenez, B. J. Johnson, J. M. Katich, R. Keeling, M. J. Kim, A. Kupc, L. R. Lait, J.-F. Lamarque, J. Liu, K. McKain, R. J. Mclaughlin, S. Meinardi, D. O. Miller, S. A. Montzka, F. L. Moore, E. J. Morgan, D. M. Murphy, L. T. Murray, B. A. Nault, J. A. Neuman, P. A. Newman, J. M. Nicely, X. Pan, W. Paplawsky, J. Peischl, M. J. Prather, D. J. Price, E. Ray, J. M. Reeves, M. Richardson, A. W. Rollins, K. H. Rosenlof, T. B. Ryerson, E. Scheuer, G. P. Schill, J. C. Schroder, J. P. Schwarz, J. M. St.Clair, S. D. Steenrod, B. B. Stephens, S. A. Strode, C. Sweeney, D. Tanner, A. P. Teng, A. B. Thames, C. R. Thompson, K. Ullmann, P. R. Veres, N. Vieznor, N. L. Wagner, A. Watt, R. Weber, B. Weinzierl, P. Wennberg, C. J. Williamson, J. C. Wilson, G. M. Wolfe, C. T. Woods, and L. H. Zeng

Charles A. Brock et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
From 2016–2018 a NASA aircraft profiled the atmosphere from 150 m to ~ 12 km from the Arctic to the Antarctic over both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This program, ATom, sought to sample atmospheric chemical composition to compare with global climate models. We describe the how measurements of particulate matter were made during ATom, and show that the instrument performance was excellent. Data from this project can be used with confidence to evaluate models and compare with satellites.
From 2016–2018 a NASA aircraft profiled the atmosphere from 150 m to ~ 12 km from the Arctic to...