High time resolution measurements of nitrate-containing particles were made in Riverside, CA using an automated particle nitrate monitor and an aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer. The automated particle nitrate monitor provides quantitative data on the concentration of total particle-bound nitrate with a temporal resolution of 10 min. The aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer provides continuous data on aerodynamic size and single particle chemical composition. Data sets acquired with the two instruments are compared for a two-day intensive sampling period in August 1997 as part of the 1997 Southern California Ozone Study-North American Research Strategy for Tropospheric Ozone (SCOS97-NARSTO). Temporal variations in the number of nitrate-containing particles observed by the mass spectrometry system track (R2 0.73) the nitrate mass concentrations measured by the automated particle nitrate monitor. Both systems detected four periods of elevated nitrate concentrations of several hours duration. For these periods, the nitrate mass concentrations as measured by the automated particle nitrate monitor were similar, ranging from 11 to 19 mu g m3. However, the particle size and single particle composition of nitrate-containing particles as measured by the aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer were distinctly different. Specifically, the nitrate maxima observed in the midmorning hours were characterized by supermicrometer nitrate particles associated with either ammonium and organic species or sodium. The afternoon maxima were characterized by submicrometer ammonium nitrate particles, most of which contained organic material.