1Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, Mytilene 81100, Greece
2ERL, Inst. of Nuclear Technology & Radiation Protection, NCSR Demokritos, 15310 Ag. Paraskevi, Attiki, Greece
3Faculty of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft 2628-BL, the Netherlands
4Department of Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens 15784, Greece
5Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion 71003, Greece
6Institute of Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Athens, Greece
7School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Science, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Abstract. The chemical composition and water uptake characteristics of sub-micrometre atmospheric particles over the region of the Aegean Sea were measured between 25 August and 11 September 2011 within the framework of the Aegean-Game campaign. High temporal-resolution measurements of the chemical composition of the particles were conducted using an airborne compact time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer (cToF-AMS). These measurements were performed during two flights from the island of Crete to the island of Lemnos and back. A hygroscopic tandem differential mobility analyser (HTDMA) located on the island of Lemnos was used to measure the ability of the particles to take up water. The HTDMA measurements showed that the particles in the dominant mode were internally mixed, having hygroscopic growth factors that ranged from 1.00 to 1.59 when exposed to 85% relative humidity. When the aircraft flew near the ground station on Lemnos, the cToF-AMS measurements showed that the organic volume fraction of the particles ranged from 43 to 56%. These measurements corroborate the range of hygroscopic growth factors measured by the HTDMA during that time. Good closure between HTDMA and cToF-AMS measurements was achieved when assuming that the organic species were less hygroscopic and had an average density that corresponds to aged organic species. Using the results from the closure study, the cToF-AMS measurements were employed to determine vertical profiles of a representative aerosol hygroscopic parameter κmix. Calculated κmix values ranged from 0.19 to 0.84 during the first flight and from 0.22 to 0.80 during the second flight. Air masses of different origin as determined by back trajectory calculations can explain the spatial variation in chemical composition and κmix values of the particles observed in the region.