Measurements of the concentration and size distribution of aerosol particles in the size-ranges of 0.5–20 𝜇 m and 16–700 nm diameters were made during six fog episodes over the south Indian Ocean. Observations show that concentrations of particles of all sizes start decreasing 1–2 hours before the occurrence of fog. This decrease is more prominent for coarse particles of < 1 𝜇 m diameter and continues until 10–20 minutes before the onset of fog when particle concentrations in all size ranges rapidly increase by one/two orders of magnitude in ∼20 minutes. Thereafter, concentrations of particles of all sizes gradually decrease until the dissipation of fog. After the fog dissipation, concentrations of coarse mode particles rapidly increase and restore to their pre-fog levels but concentrations of the Aitken mode particles decrease slowly and reach their pre-fog levels only after 1–2 hours. The net effect of fog is to change the bimodal size distributions of aerosols with a coarse mode at 1.0 𝜇 m and an accumulation mode at 40–60 nm to a power law size distribution. It is proposed that the preferential growth and sedimentation of the coarse mode hygroscopic particles in the initial phase cause a large decrease in the aerosol surface area. As a result, the low vapour pressure gases which were initially being used for the growth of coarse mode particles, now accelerate the growth rates of the accumulation and Aitken mode particles.
Volume 129, 2020
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