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A thermodynamic description for the hygroscopic growth of atmospheric aerosol particles

Journal article
Authors Dimitri Castarède
Erik S Thomson
Published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume 18
Issue 20
Pages 14939-14948
ISSN 1680-7316
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 14939-14948
Language en
Keywords cloud droplet formation, phase clouds, water-uptake, thin-film, deliquescence, system, nacl, salt, representation, activation
Subject categories Physical Sciences


The phase state of atmospheric particulate is important to atmospheric processes, and aerosol radiative forcing remains a large uncertainty in climate predictions. That said, precise atmospheric phase behavior is difficult to quantify and observations have shown that "precondensation" of water below predicted saturation values can occur. We propose a revised approach to understanding the transition from solid soluble particles to liquid droplets, typically described as cloud condensation nucleation - a process that is traditionally captured by Kohler theory, which describes a modified equilibrium saturation vapor pressure due to (i) mixing entropy (Raoult's law) and (ii) droplet geometry (Kelvin effect). Given that observations of precondensation are not predicted by Kohler theory, we devise a more complete model that includes interfacial forces giving rise to predeliquescence, i.e., the formation of a brine layer wetting a salt particle at relative humidities well below the deliquescence point.

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