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Huang, S., K. Rahn, and R. Arimoto. 1997. A graphical method for determining the dry-depositional component of aerosol samples and their field blanks. Atmospheric Environment 31:3383-3394.


Abstract


During the Atmosphere/Ocean Chemistry Experiment (AEROCE), field blanks of certain elements in aerosol samples occasionally increased abruptly, always during periods of unusually high atmospheric concentrations. We hypothesized that the anomalous blanks were created by coarse aerosol entering the sampling shelters and depositing onto the blank filters. If so, samples taken nearby should have been similarly affected. To test this hypothesis, we developed a simple graphical method in which elemental masses in field blanks are plotted against elemental masses in pumped samples, and zones of proportionality between the two are sought. Data from Bermuda and Mace Head (coastal western Ireland) confirmed that depositional zones did indeed appear, but only for coarse-particle elements and only under certain conditions. Actual increases of crustal and pollution-derived elements agreed well with values predicted from settling velocities and sampling rates: blanks increased up to an order of magnitude or more but samples by less than 1%. Marine elements behaved like crustal elements in most samples but occasionally were much more enriched: blanks increased up to 30-fold and samples up to about 3%. It thus appears that when coarse-particle elements are present in high concentrations, their field blanks and samples may be measurably affected by dry deposition. Depending on the elements of interest, this dry deposition may have to be measured and the concentrations corrected.

 

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