Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15(13):7203-7216, 2015. Paper Website abstract bibtex
We present the results of laboratory measurements of the ion–ion recombination coefficient at different temperatures, relative humidities and concentrations of ozone and sulfur dioxide. The experiments were carried out using the Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets (CLOUD) chamber at CERN, the walls of which are made of conductive material, making it possible to measure small ions. We produced ions in the chamber using a 3.5 GeV c−1 beam of positively charged pions (π+) generated by the CERN Proton Synchrotron (PS). When the PS was switched off, galactic cosmic rays were the only ionization source in the chamber. The range of the ion production rate varied from 2 to 100 cm−3 s−1, covering the typical range of ionization throughout the troposphere. The temperature ranged from −55 to 20 °C, the relative humidity (RH) from 0 to 70 %, the SO2 concentration from 0 to 40 ppb, and the ozone concentration from 200 to 700 ppb. The best agreement of the retrieved ion–ion recombination coefficient with the commonly used literature value of 1.6 × 10−6 cm3 s−1 was found at a temperature of 5 °C and a RH of 40 % (1.5 ± 0.6) × 10−6 cm3 s−1. At 20 °C and 40 % RH, the retrieved ion–ion recombination coefficient was instead (2.3 ± 0.7) × 10−6 cm3 s−1. We observed no dependency of the ion–ion recombination coefficient on ozone concentration and a weak variation with sulfur dioxide concentration. However, we observed a more than fourfold increase in the ion–ion recombination coefficient with decreasing temperature. We compared our results with three different models and found an overall agreement for temperatures above 0 °C, but a disagreement at lower temperatures. We observed a strong increase in the recombination coefficient for decreasing relative humidities, which has not been reported previously.