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Göran Frank

Director of graduate studies

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A closure study of sub-micrometer aerosol particle hygroscopic behaviour


  • Erik Swietlicki
  • Jingchuan Zhou
  • Olle H. Berg
  • Bengt G. Martinsson
  • Göran Frank
  • Sven Inge Cederfelt
  • Ulrike Dusek
  • Axel Berner
  • Wolfram Birmili
  • Alfred Wiedensohler
  • Brett Yuskiewicz
  • Keith N. Bower

Summary, in English

The hygroscopic properties of sub-micrometer aerosol particles were studied in connection with a ground-based cloud experiment at Great Dun Fell, in northern England in 1995. Hygroscopic diameter growth factors were measured with a Tandem Differential Mobility Analyser (TDMA) for dry particle diameters between 35 and 265 nm at one of the sites upwind of the orographic cloud. An external mixture consisting of three groups of particles, each with different hygroscopic properties, was observed. These particle groups were denoted less-hygroscopic, more-hygroscopic and sea spray particles and had average diameter growth factors of 1.11-1.15, 1.38-1.69 and 2.08-2.21 respectively when taken from a dry state to a relative humidity of 90%. Average growth factors increased with dry particle size. A bimodal hygroscopic behaviour was observed for 74-87% of the cases depending on particle size. Parallel measurements of dry sub-micrometer particle number size distributions were performed with a Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (DMPS). The inorganic ion aerosol composition was determined by means of ion chromatography analysis of samples collected with Berner-type low pressure cascade impactors at ambient conditions. The number of ions collected on each impactor stage was predicted from the size distribution and hygroscopic growth data by means of a model of hygroscopic behaviour assuming that only the inorganic substances interacted with the ambient water vapour. The predicted ion number concentration was compared with the actual number of all positive and negative ions collected on the various impactor stages. For the impactor stage which collected particles with aerodynamic diameters between 0.17-0.53 μm at ambient relative humidity, and for which all pertinent data was available for the hygroscopic closure study, the predicted ion concentrations agreed with the measured values within the combined measurement and model uncertainties for all cases but one. For this impactor sampling occasion, the predicted ion concentration was significantly higher than the measured. The air mass in which this sample was taken had undergone extensive photochemical activity which had probably produced hygroscopically active material other than inorganic ions, such as organic oxygenated substances.


  • Nuclear physics

Publishing year







Atmospheric Research





Document type

Journal article




  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Subatomic Physics


  • Aerosol particles
  • Closure study
  • Hygroscopic growth
  • Tandem differential mobility analyser (TDMA)




  • ISSN: 0169-8095