Reconciling atmospheric water uptake by hydrate forming salts

Bernadette Rosati*, Andreas Paul, Emil Mark Iversen, Andreas Massling, Merete Bilde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Magnesium and calcium chloride salts contribute to the global atmospheric aerosol burden via emission of sea spray and mineral dust. Their influence on aerosol hygroscopicity and cloud forming potential is important but uncertain with ambiguities between results reported in the literature. To address this, we have conducted measurements of the hygroscopic growth and critical supersaturation of dried, size selected nano-particles made from aqueous solution droplets of MgCl2 and CaCl2, respectively, and compare experimentally derived values with results from state-of-the-art thermodynamic modelling. It is characteristic of both MgCl2 and CaCl2 salts that they bind water in the form of hydrates under a range of ambient conditions. We discuss how hydrate formation affects the particles' water uptake and provide an expression for hydrate correction factors needed in calculations of hygroscopic growth factors, critical super-saturations, and derived κ values of particles containing hydrate forming salts. We demonstrate the importance of accounting for hydrate forming salts when predicting hygroscopic properties of sea spray aerosol.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1759
JournalEnvironmental Science Processes & Impacts
Pages (from-to)1759-1767
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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