Revising the hygroscopicity of inorganic sea salt particles
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CitationZieger P. Väisänen O. Corbin JC. Partridge DG. Bastelberger S. Mousavi-Fard M. Rosati B. Gysel M. Krieger UK. Leck C. Nenes A. Riipinen I. Virtanen A. Salter ME. (2017). Revising the hygroscopicity of inorganic sea salt particles. Nature Communications, 8, 15883. 10.1038/ncomms15883.
Sea spray is one of the largest natural aerosol sources and plays an important role in the Earth’s radiative budget. These particles are inherently hygroscopic, that is, they take-up moisture from the air, which affects the extent to which they interact with solar radiation. We demonstrate that the hygroscopic growth of inorganic sea salt is 8–15% lower than pure sodium chloride, most likely due to the presence of hydrates. We observe an increase in hygroscopic growth with decreasing particle size (for particle diameters <150 nm) that is independent of the particle generation method. We vary the hygroscopic growth of the inorganic sea salt within a general circulation model and show that a reduced hygroscopicity leads to a reduction in aerosol-radiation interactions, manifested by a latitudinal-dependent reduction of the aerosol optical depth by up to 15%, while cloud-related parameters are unaffected. We propose that a value of κs=1.1 (at RH=90%) is used to represent the hygroscopicity of inorganic sea salt particles in numerical models.