Aerosol activation characteristics and prediction at the central European ACTRIS research station of Melpitz, Germany


Understanding aerosol particle activation is essential for evaluating aerosol indirect effects (AIEs) on climate. Long-term measurements of aerosol particle activation help to understand the AIEs and narrow down the uncertainties of AIEs simulation. However, they are still scarce. In this study, more than 4 years of comprehensive aerosol measurements were utilized at the central European research station of Melpitz, Germany, to gain insight into the aerosol particle activation and provide recommendations on improving the prediction of number concentration of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN, NCCN). (1) The overall CCN activation characteristics at Melpitz are provided. As supersaturation (SS) increases from 0.1% to 0.7%, the median NCCN increases from 399 to 2144cm-3, which represents 10% to 48% of the total particle number concentration with a diameter range of 10-800nm, while the median hygroscopicity factor (κ) and critical diameter (Dc) decrease from 0.27 to 0.19 and from 176 to 54nm, respectively. (2) Aerosol particle activation is highly variable across seasons, especially at low-SS conditions. At SSCombining double low line0.1%, the median NCCN and activation ratio (AR) in winter are 1.6 and 2.3 times higher than the summer values, respectively. (3) Both κ and the mixing state are size-dependent. As the particle diameter (Dp) increases, κ increases at Dp of 1/440 to 100nm and almost stays constant at Dp of 100 to 200nm, whereas the degree of the external mixture keeps decreasing at Dp of 1/440 to 200nm. The relationships of κ vs. Dp and degree of mixing vs. Dp were both fitted well by a power-law function. (4) Size-resolved κ improves the NCCN prediction. We recommend applying the κ-Dp power-law fit for NCCN prediction at Melpitz, which performs better than using the constant κ of 0.3 and the κ derived from particle chemical compositions and much better than using the NCCN (AR) vs. SS relationships. The κ-Dp power-law fit measured at Melpitz could be applied to predict NCCN for other rural regions. For the purpose of improving the prediction of NCCN, long-term monodisperse CCN measurements are still needed to obtain the κ-Dp relationships for different regions and their seasonal variations.

Wang, Y., Henning, S., Poulain, L., Lu, C., Stratmann, F., Wang, Y., et al. (2022). Aerosol activation characteristics and prediction at the central European ACTRIS research station of Melpitz, Germany (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU). Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU.
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