Composition and hygroscopicity of the Los Angeles Aerosol: CalNex

Scott P. Hersey, Jill S. Craven, Andrew R. Metcalf, Jack Lin, Terry Lathem, Kaitlyn J. Suski, John F. Cahill, Hanh T. Duong, Armin Sorooshian, Haflidi H. Jonsson, Manabu Shiraiwa, Andreas Zuend, Athanasios Nenes, Kimberly A. Prather, Richard C. Flagan, John H. Seinfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Aircraft-based measurements of aerosol composition, either bulk or single-particle, and both subsaturated and supersaturated hygroscopicity were made in the Los Angeles Basin and its outflows during May 2010 during the CalNex field study. Aerosol composition evolves from source-rich areas in the western Basin to downwind sites in the eastern Basin, evidenced by transition from an external to internal mixture, as well as enhancements in organic O: C ratio, the amount of organics and nitrate internally mixed on almost all particle types, and coating thickness on refractory black carbon (rBC). Transport into hot, dilute outflow regions leads to significant volatilization of semivolatile material, resulting in a unimodal aerosol comprising primarily oxygenated, low-volatility, water-soluble organics and sulfate. The fraction of particles with rBC or soot cores is between 27 and 51% based on data from a Single Particle Soot Photometer (SP2) and Aerosol Time of Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS). Secondary organics appear to inhibit subsaturated water uptake in aged particles, while CCN activity is enhanced with photochemical age. A biomass-burning event resulted in suppression of subsaturated hygroscopicity but enhancement in CCN activity, suggesting that BB particles may be nonhygroscopic at subsaturated RH but are important sources of CCN. Aerosol aging and biomass burning can lead to discrepancies between subsaturated and supersaturated hygroscopicity that may be related to mixing state. In the cases of biomass burning aerosol and aged particles coated with secondary material, more than a single parameter representation of subsaturated hygroscopicity and CCN activity is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3016-3036
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 16 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Composition and hygroscopicity of the Los Angeles Aerosol: CalNex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this