Laboratory Studies of the Cloud Droplet Activation Properties and Corresponding Chemistry of Saline Playa Dust

Cassandra Gaston, Kerri A. Pratt, Kaitlyn J. Suski, Nathaniel W. May, Thomas E. Gill, Kimberly A. Prather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Playas emit large quantities of dust that can facilitate the activation of cloud droplets. Despite the potential importance of playa dusts for cloud formation, most climate models assume that all dust is nonhygroscopic; however, measurements are needed to clarify the role of dusts in aerosol-cloud interactions. Here, we report measurements of CCN activation from playa dusts and parameterize these results in terms of both κ-Köhler theory and adsorption activation theory for inclusion in atmospheric models. κ ranged from 0.002 ± 0.001 to 0.818 ± 0.094, whereas Frankel-Halsey-Hill (FHH) adsorption parameters of AFHH = 2.20 ± 0.60 and BFHH = 1.24 ± 0.14 described the water uptake properties of the dusts. Measurements made using aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ATOFMS) revealed the presence of halite, sodium sulfates, and sodium carbonates that were strongly correlated with κ underscoring the role that mineralogy, including salts, plays in water uptake by dust. Predictions of κ made using bulk chemical techniques generally showed good agreement with measured values. However, several samples were poorly predicted suggesting that chemical heterogeneities as a function of size or chemically distinct particle surfaces can determine the hygroscopicity of playa dusts. Our results further demonstrate the importance of dust in aerosol-cloud interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1348-1356
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 7 2017

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playa
cloud droplet
Dust
Chemical activation
dust
Aerosols
volcanic cloud
water uptake
sodium
adsorption
laboratory
Climate models
Adsorption
hygroscopicity
Mineralogy
Water
halite
Sodium chloride
Particles (particulate matter)
Mass spectrometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

Laboratory Studies of the Cloud Droplet Activation Properties and Corresponding Chemistry of Saline Playa Dust. / Gaston, Cassandra; Pratt, Kerri A.; Suski, Kaitlyn J.; May, Nathaniel W.; Gill, Thomas E.; Prather, Kimberly A.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 51, No. 3, 07.02.2017, p. 1348-1356.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gaston, Cassandra ; Pratt, Kerri A. ; Suski, Kaitlyn J. ; May, Nathaniel W. ; Gill, Thomas E. ; Prather, Kimberly A. / Laboratory Studies of the Cloud Droplet Activation Properties and Corresponding Chemistry of Saline Playa Dust. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 2017 ; Vol. 51, No. 3. pp. 1348-1356.
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