Physical and Radiative Properties of Aerosol Particles in the Caribbean: Influence of African Dust and Soufriere Volcanic Ash
Atmospheric particles such as dust and volcanic ash have the potential of influencing the earth's radiative budget directly by scattering or absorbing solar radiation in the atmosphere and indirectly by affecting cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations and, therefore, cloud albedo. The radiatively-important properties of atmospheric particles are determined at the most fundamental level by their chemical composition and size distributions; therefore, the importance of studying the chemical, physical, and optical aerosol properties. Over the summer months, the island of Puerto Rico receives African dust incursions that reduce visibility and have an impact on public health, ecosystem, and climate. Visibility is also negatively affected when the island receives south-east winds and the Soufriere volcano (Montserrat Island) has been active. Here we present preliminary results of measurements performed during 2006 and 2007 at Cape San Juan, a ground-based station located at the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico. The cases investigated showed three possible types of air masses: clean (C), with African Dust (AD), and with volcanic ash (VA) from the Soufriere. We used a condensation particle counter to determine the particle number concentration, a sunphotometer (part of the AERONET) to determine volume size distributions and aerosol optical thickness (AOT), a 3-wavelength nephelometer to determine the scattering coefficients, and a 3-wavelength particle/soot absorption photometer (PSAP) for the absorption coefficients. The particle number concentrations were higher for AD and VA periods (up to about 700 cm-3 on average for both cases) in contrast to ~400 cm-3 for the C period. Volume size distributions showed bimodal distributions for the three cases with a greater influence of the coarse fraction for the C and VA periods and an increase in the fine particles for the AD period. The total scattering coefficient showed higher values for the AD (30 Mm-1) and the VA (26 Mm-1) cases than for the C case (11 Mm-1). The highest AOT values (at 500 nm) were observed for the AD and VA cases (up to ~0.35 and 0.3, respectively). C samples had much lower AOT values (~ 0.07). Our preliminary results clearly showed an impact of African dust and volcanic ash on the physical and radiative properties of aerosol particles. Results on the chemical composition of particles representative of the three cases will also be presented at the meeting.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 0305 Aerosols and particles (0345;