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Abstract - Soot particles influence the global climate through interactions with sunlight. A coating on soot particles increases their light absorption by increasing their absorption cross section and cloud condensation nuclei activity when mixed with other hygroscopic aerosol components. Therefore, it is important to understand how soot internally mixes with other materials to accurately simulate its effects in climate models. In this study, we used a transmission electron microscope (TEM) with an auto particle analysis system, which enables more particles to be analyzed than a conventional TEM. Using the TEM, soot particle size and shape (shape factor) were determined with and without coating from samples collected at a remote mountain site in Japan. The results indicate that ~10% of aerosol particles between 60 and 350 nm in aerodynamic diameters contain or consist of soot particles and ~75% of soot particles were internally mixed with nonvolatile ammonium sulfate or other materials. In contrast to an assumption that coatings change soot shape, both internally and externally mixed soot particles had similar shape and size distributions. Larger aerosol particles had higher soot mixing ratios, i.e., more than 40% of aerosol particles with diameters >1 µm had soot inclusions, whereas <20% of aerosol particles with diameters <1 µm included soot. Our results suggest that climate models may use the same size distributions and shapes for both internally and externally mixed soot; however, changing the soot mixing ratios in the different aerosol size bins is necessary.
Adachi, K., Y. Zaizen, M. Kajino, & Y. Igarashi (2014) Mixing state of regionally transported soot particles and the coating effect on their size and shape at a mountain site in Japan, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119(9):5386-5396.