An optical particle size spectrometer for aircraft-borne measurements in IAGOS-CARIBIC


The particle number size distribution is an important parameter to characterize the atmospheric aerosol and its influence on the Earth's climate. Here we describe a new Optical Particle Size Spectrometer (OPSS) for measurements of the accumulation mode particle number size distribution in the tropopause region onboard a passenger aircraft (IAGOS-CARIBIC observatory (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System – Civil Aircraft for Regular Investigation of the Atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container)). A modified "KS93 particle sensor" from RION Co., Ltd. together with a new airflow system and a dedicated data acquisition system are the key components of the CARIBIC OPSS. The instrument records individual particle pulses in the particle size range 130–1110 nm diameter (for a particle refractive index of 1.47-i0.006 for an upper tropospheric (UT) aerosol particle) and thus allows the post-flight choice of the time resolution and the size distribution bin width. The CARIBIC OPSS has a 50 % particle detection diameter of 152 nm and a maximum asymptotic counting efficiency of 98 %. The instruments measurement performance shows no pressure dependency and no coincidence for free tropospheric conditions. The size response function of the CARIBIC OPSS was obtained by a polystyrene latex calibration in combination with model calculations. Particle number size distributions measured with the new OPSS in the lowermost stratosphere agreed within a factor of two in concentration with balloon-borne measurements over western North America. Since June 2010 the CARIBIC OPSS is deployed once per month in the IAGOS-CARIBIC observatory.
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