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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-506
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2019-506
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 28 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 28 Feb 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal AMT and is expected to appear here in due course.

A new optical-based technique for real-time measurements of mineral dust concentration in PM10 using a virtual impactor

Luka Drinovec1, Jean Sciare2, Iasonas Stavroulas2, Spiros Bezantakos2, Michael Pikridas2, Florin Unga2, Chrysanthos Savvides3, Bojana Višić1,4, Maja Remškar1, and Griša Močnik1,5 Luka Drinovec et al.
  • 1Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 2Climate and Atmosphere Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 3Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, Department of Labour Inspection, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 4Institute of Physics Belgrade, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 5Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Nova Gorica, Ajdovščina, Slovenia

Abstract. Atmospheric mineral dust influences Earth’s radiative budget, cloud formation and lifetime, has adverse health effects, and affects the air quality through the increase of regulatory PM10 concentrations, making strategic its real-time quantification in the atmosphere. Only few near-real-time techniques can discriminate dust aerosol in PM10 samples and they are based on the dust chemical composition. The on-line determination of mineral dust using aerosol absorption photometers offers an interesting and competitive alternative, but remains a difficult task to achieve. This is particularly challenging when dust is mixed with black carbon, which features a much higher mass absorption cross-section. We present here for the first time a highly time resolved on-line detection technique of dust absorption by coupling a high flow virtual impactor (VI) sampler that concentrates coarse particles with an aerosol absorption photometer (Aethalometer, model AE33). The absorption of concentrated dust particles is obtained by subtracting the absorption of the submicron (PM1) aerosol fraction from the absorption of the virtual impactor sample (VI-PM1 method). This real-time method for detecting desert dust was tested in the field for a period of two months (April and May 2016) at a regional background site of Cyprus, in the Eastern Mediterranean. Several intense desert mineral dust events were observed during the field campaign with dust concentration in PM10 up to 45 μg m−3. Mineral dust was present most of the time during the campaign with an average PM10 of about 8 μg m−3. Mineral dust absorption was most prominent at short wavelengths, yielding an average mass absorption cross-section (MAC) of 0.24 ± 0.01 m2 g−1 at 370 nm and an absorption Ångström exponent of 1.41 ± 0.29. This MAC value can be used as site specific parameter for on-line determination of mineral dust concentration. The uncertainty of the proposed method is discussed by comparing and validating it with different methods.

Luka Drinovec et al.

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Luka Drinovec et al.

Luka Drinovec et al.

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Latest update: 04 Jul 2020
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Short summary
Atmospheric mineral dust influences Earth's radiative budge, has adverse health effects, and affects regulatory PM10 concentrations. We present a highly time resolved on-line detection technique for measurement of mineral dust concentration in ambient air. The technique uses a virtual impactor to concentrate coarse particles, which absorption is then measured using a filter photometer. The method was tested in the field at a regional background site on Cyprus.
Atmospheric mineral dust influences Earth's radiative budge, has adverse health effects, and...
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