1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES), Boulder, CO, USA
3Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
4Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
5School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA
*now at: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
**now at: NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA
Abstract. Measurements of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), aerosol size distributions, and submicron aerosol composition were made as part of the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment Phase B (INTEX-B) campaign during spring 2006. Measurements were conducted from an aircraft platform over the northeastern Pacific and western North America with a focus on how the transport and evolution of Asian pollution across the Pacific Ocean affected CCN properties. A broad range of air masses were sampled and here we focus on three distinct air mass types defined geographically: the Pacific free troposphere (FT), the marine boundary layer (MBL), and the polluted continental boundary layer in the California Central Valley (CCV). These observations add to the few observations of CCN in the FT. CCN concentrations showed a large range of concentrations between air masses, however CCN activity was similar for the MBL and CCV (κ~0.2–0.25). FT air masses showed evidence of long-range transport from Asia and CCN activity was consistently higher than for the boundary layer air masses. Bulk chemical measurements predicted CCN activity reasonably well for the CCV and FT air masses. Decreasing trends in κ with organic mass fraction were observed for the combination of the FT and CCV air masses and can be explained by the measured soluble inorganic chemical components. Changes in hygroscopicity associated with differences in the non-refractory organic composition were too small to be distinguished from the simultaneous changes in inorganic ion composition in the FT and MBL, although measurements for the large organic fractions (0.6–0.8) found in the CCV showed values of the organic fraction hygroscopicity consistent with other polluted regions (κorg~0.1–0.2). A comparison of CCN-derived κ (for particles at the critical diameter) to H-TDMA-derived κ (for particles at 100 nm diameter) showed similar trends, however the CCN-derived κ values were significantly higher.