Vertical profile of aerosol properties at Pico Mountain, Azores

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Conference Proceeding

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Pico Mountain (2325m asl) is a dormant volcano in the archipelago of the Azores1500 km west of Lisbon, Portugal in the North Atlantic. It differs from typical mountain ranges such as the Alps or the Rockies, which are large and present a complex orography. Pico Mountain has a simple cone-like structure with only one main peak and is thousands of kilometers away from any other significant mountain range. In summer months, it is typical for air masses to move around the mountain rather than traveling up its face. This implies that often the peak of the mountain lies above the marine boundary layer in the free troposphere, while the lower part of the mountain is affected by marine clouds and marine air-masses. An atmospheric monitoring station, the Pico Mountain Observatory was established in 2001 in the summit caldera of the volcano at 2225m above sea level. The observatory is far from large populations or pollution sources, which makes the station ideal to study atmospheric gases and aerosols transported over long-ranges in the free troposphere. The station is reachable only by foot following a steep and strenuous hiking trail. In the summer of 2013 we began to collect vertical profiles of aerosol by carrying an instrumented backpack up to the summit of the mountain, with the goal of studying the vertical structure of atmospheric aerosols from the marine boundary layer to the free troposphere. The backpack was carried from the base of trail at 1200m asl. The backpack was equipped with the following instruments: 1. Nephelometer to measure light scattering from aerosol 2. 2-size optical particle counter (300-500 nm) 3. Portable micro-aethalometer to measure absorbing aerosols 4. SEM/TEM sampler to collect particles for off-line electron microscopy analysis 5. Battery powered data logger to measure relative humidity, temperature and pressure 6. GPS tracking device We provide a preliminary analysis of data collected in 2013 to gain insight on the vertical distribution of aerosol properties in a marine environment from the boundary layer to the free troposphere. The analysis of these data will help us understand the role of aerosol aging, vertical transport and distribution in a marine environment.

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Fall Meeting 2013