Bulk precipitation samplers, which are continuously open, also sample gases and particles deposited on the funnel surface. Wet-only samplers, which open only during precipitation, avoid this problem, but can be bulky (leading to disruption of air flow and droplet collection) and need electrical power. We describe here a simple battery-powered modification to a standard bulk sampler that allows the separate measurement of deposition to the funnel surface and wet deposition by washing the funnel surface when precipitation is detected. Comparison of this design with a standard bulk sampler over 3 months at a site in eastern Scotland showed that dry deposition to the funnel surface contributed around 20% of sulfate, 20–30% of nitrate and 20–40% of ammonium ions. There was also a significant loss of ammonium and nitrate in the modified sampler, presumably in the tubing, even though a biocide had been added to the sample bottles. This observation has implications for bulk samplers of similar design, with a sample bottle at ground level. Deposition of sea salts and calcium was greater to the flushing collectors than to the bulk collectors, implying that regular cleaning of funnel surfaces with 10% methanol solution subtly alters the capture efficiency for larger particles.
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Journal of Environmental Monitoring
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