Hygroscopic properties of sodium and potassium salts as related to saline mineral dusts and sea salt aerosols

Mingjin Tang , Huanhuan Zhang , Wenjun Gu , Yong Jie Li , Tao WANG , Jianmin CHEN , Abdelwahid Mellouki , Christian GEORGE , Yujing MU , Hong LI


Received September 11, 2019,Revised , Accepted March 17, 2020, Available online April 09, 2020

Volume 32,2020,Pages 65-72

Mineral dust, soil, and sea salt aerosols are among the most abundant primary inorganic aerosols in the atmosphere, and their hygroscopicity affects the hydrological cycle and global climate. We investigated the hygroscopic behaviors of six Na- and K-containing salts commonly found in those primary organic aerosols. Their hygroscopic growths as a function of relative humidity (RH) agree well with thermodynamic model prediction. Temperature dependence of deliquescence RH (DRH) values for five of those salts was also investigated, which are comparable to those in literature within 1%–2% RH, most showing negative dependence on temperature. Hygroscopic growth curves of real-world soil and sea salt samples were also measured. The hygroscopic growths of two more-hydroscopic saline soil samples and of sea salt can be predicted by the thermodynamic model based on the measured water-soluble ionic composition. The substantial amounts of water-soluble ions, including Na+ and K+, in saline soil samples imply that even nascent saline soil samples are quite hygroscopic at high-RH (>80%) conditions. For three less-hygroscopic dust samples, however, measurements showed higher water uptake ability than that predicted by the thermodynamic model. The small amount of water taken up by less-hygroscopic dust samples suggests that dust particles might contain thin layers of water even to very low RH. The results of this study provide a comprehensive characterization of the hygroscopicity of Na- and K-containing salts as related to their roles in the hygroscopic behaviors of saline mineral dusts and sea salt aerosols.

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