Environmental Chemistry Environmental Chemistry Society
Environmental problems - Chemical approaches
RESEARCH ARTICLE

A comparative evaluation of water uptake on several mineral dust sources

Juan G. Navea A C , Haihan Chen B , Min Huang B , Gregory R. Carmichel B and Vicki H. Grassian A B D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Chemistry, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.

B Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.

C Present address: Chemistry Department, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI 54911, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: vicki-grassian@uiowa.edu

Environmental Chemistry 7(2) 162-170 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN09122
Submitted: 1 October 2009  Accepted: 16 January 2010   Published: 22 April 2010

Environmental context. Dust particles produced from wind blown soils are of global significance as these dust particles not only impact visibility, as evident in the recent 2009 Australian dust storm, but also atmospheric chemistry, climate and biogeochemical cycles. The amount of water vapour in the atmosphere (relative humidity) can play a role in these global processes yet there are few studies and little quantitative data on water-dust particle interactions. The focus of this research is on quantifying water-dust particle interactions for several dust sources including Asia and Africa where dust storms are most prevalent.

Abstract. Mineral dust aerosol provides a reactive surface in the troposphere. The reactivity of mineral dust depends on the source region as chemical composition and mineralogy of the aerosol affects its interaction with atmospheric gases. Furthermore, the impact of mineral dust aerosol in atmospheric processes and climate is a function of relative humidity. In this study, we have investigated water uptake of complex dust samples. In particular, water uptake as a function of relative humidity has been measured on three different dust sources that have been characterised using a variety of bulk and surface techniques. For these well-characterised dust samples, it is shown that although there are variations in chemical composition and mineralogy, on a per mass basis, water uptake capacities for the three dusts are very similar and are comparable to single component clay samples. These results suggest that the measured uptake of water of these bulk samples is dominated by the clay component.

Additional keyword: heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry, tropospheric particles.


Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant ATM0613124. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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