Characterizing water-soluble organic aerosol and their effects on cloud droplet formation: Interactions of carbonaceous matter with water vapor
Asa-Awuku, Akua Asabea
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Aerosols have significant impacts on earth's climate and hydrological cycle. They can directly reflect the amount of incoming solar radiation into space; by acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), they can indirectly impact climate by affecting cloud albedo. Our current assessment of the interactions of aerosols and clouds is uncertain and parameters used to estimate cloud droplet formation in global climate models are not well constrained. Organic aerosols attribute much of the uncertainty in these estimates and are known to affect the ability of aerosol to form cloud droplets (CCN Activity) by i) providing solute, thus reducing the equilibrium water vapor pressure of the droplet and ii) acting as surfactants capable of depressing surface tension, and potentially, growth kinetics. My thesis dissertation investigates various organic aerosol species (e.g., marine, urban, biomass burning, Humic-like Substances). An emphasis is placed on the water soluble components and secondary organic aerosols (SOA). In addition the sampled organic aerosols are acquired via different media; directly from in-situ ambient studies (TEXAQS 2006) environmental chamber experiments, regenerated from filters, and cloud water samples. Novel experimental methods and analyses to determine surface tension, molar volumes, and droplet growth rates are presented from nominal volumes of sample. These key parameters for cloud droplet formation incorporated into climate models will constrain aerosol-cloud interactions and provide a more accurate assessment for climate prediction.