Sensitivity and contribution of organic aerosols to aerosol optical properties based on their refractive index and hygroscopicity

Chang Hoon Jung, Hye Jung Shin, Ji Yi Lee, Yong Pyo Kim

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8 Scopus citations


Organic carbon (OC) accounts for a large fraction of particulate matter. Since many atmospheric organic compounds have different optical properties, it is difficult to determine the optical properties of OC accurately. In particular, hygroscopicity and light absorption of OC are important factors in understanding the aerosol optical properties. In this study, the sensitivity of organic carbon (OC) to aerosol optical properties was tested. Both the refractive index and the hygroscopicity of OC were considered. Based on the filter-based monthly averaged sampling measurement data from an intensive observation site in Seoul, Korea, the contribution of each component on the aerosol optical properties was estimated. The aerosol optical properties were simulated by combining the aerosol dynamic model for polydispersed aerosols with an optical properties model based on Mie code. The optical properties were compared with the AERONET Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT) measurement data. In order to estimate the contribution of the light absorption and hygroscopicity of organic carbon (OC) on the optical properties of the aerosols, a sensitivity test was conducted with different imaginary refractive indices and OC hygroscopic growth factors. The results show that mass absorption efficiency can be fitted linearly as the imaginary refractive index increases. This means that one can estimate the mass absorption efficiency of OC as a function of the imaginary refractive index. The results also show that mass extinction and absorption efficiency decrease as the hygroscopic factor of OC increases because of the increase in water content. The contribution of OC to the mass extinction efficiency, however, depends on the chemical composition of other aerosol mixtures and hence, more comprehensive studies are required in this regard.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (No. NRF-2015R1D1A1A09059906) and by the Korea Meteorological Administration Research and Development Program under Grant CATER 2014-3190.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 by the authors.


  • Extinction
  • Hygroscopicity
  • Light absorption coefficient
  • Optical properties
  • Organic carbon
  • Scattering
  • Sensitivity


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