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Surface‐active organics such as humic‐like substances (HULIS) are abundant in aerosol particles and can lower the surface tension of cloud droplets forming on secondary organic and biomass burning aerosols. How fast is the diffusion of these species, relative to the time scale of cloud droplet growth? Here we report surface tension measurements of solutions containing HULIS extracted from smoke and pollution aerosol particles as well those of molecular weight‐fractionated aquatic fulvic acids. Diffusion coefficients are estimated based on the Gibbs adsorption isotherms. The results suggest that HULIS diffusion to the surface of forming droplets is typically more rapid than the time scale of droplet growth so that cloud microphysical properties are affected.

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Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union. Article deposited here in compliance with publisher policies. Publisher’s version of record:

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Geophysical Research Letters


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Physics Commons



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