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    A concept of an automated function control for ambient aerosol measurements using mobility particle size spectrometers
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Schladitz, A.; Merkel, M.; Bastian, S.; Birmili, W.; Weinhold, K.; Löschau, G.; Wiedensohler, A.
    An automated function control unit was developed to regularly check the ambient particle number concentration derived from a mobility particle size spectrometer as well as its zero-point behaviour. The function control allows unattended quality assurance experiments at remote air quality monitoring or research stations under field conditions. The automated function control also has the advantage of being able to get a faster system stability response than the recommended on-site comparisons with reference instruments. The method is based on a comparison of the total particle number concentration measured by a mobility particle size spectrometer and a condensation particle counter while removing diffusive particles smaller than 20 nm in diameter. In practice, the small particles are removed by a set of diffusion screens, as traditionally used in a diffusion battery. Another feature of the automated function control is to check the zero-point behaviour of the ambient aerosol passing through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The performance of the function control is illustrated with the aid of a 1-year data set recorded at Annaberg-Buchholz, a station in the Saxon air quality monitoring network. During the period of concern, the total particle number concentration derived from the mobility particle size spectrometer slightly overestimated the particle number concentration recorded by the condensation particle counter by 2 % (grand average). Based on our first year of experience with the function control, we developed tolerance criteria that allow a performance evaluation of a tested mobility particle size spectrometer with respect to the total particle number concentration. We conclude that the automated function control enhances the quality and reliability of unattended long-term particle number size distribution measurements. This will have beneficial effects for intercomparison studies involving different measurement sites, and help provide a higher data accuracy for cohort health and climate research studies.
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    Mobility particle size spectrometers: Harmonization of technical standards and data structure to facilitate high quality long-term observations of atmospheric particle number size distributions
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2012) Wiedensohler, A.; Birmili, W.; Nowak, A.; Sonntag, A.; Weinhold, K.; Merkel, M.; Wehner, B.; Tuch, T.; Pfeifer, S.; Fiebig, M.; Fjäraa, A.M.; Asmi, E.; Sellegri, K.; Depuy, R.; Venzac, H.; Villani, P.; Laj, P.; Aalto, P.; Ogren, J.A.; Swietlick, E.; Williams, P.; Roldin, P.; Quincey, P.; Hüglin, C.; Fierz-Schmidhauser, R.; Gysel, M.; Weingartner, E.; Riccobono, F.; Santos, S.; Grüning, C.; Faloon, K.; Beddows, D.; Harrison, R.; Monahan, C.; Jennings, S.G.; O'Dowd, C.D.; Marinoni, A.; Horn, H.-G.; Keck, L.; Jiang, J.; Scheckman, J.; McMurry, P.H.; Deng, Z.; Zhao, C.S.; Moerman, M.; Henzing, B.; de Leeuw, G.; Löschau, G.; Bastian, S.
    Mobility particle size spectrometers often referred to as DMPS (Differential Mobility Particle Sizers) or SMPS (Scanning Mobility Particle Sizers) have found a wide range of applications in atmospheric aerosol research. However, comparability of measurements conducted world-wide is hampered by lack of generally accepted technical standards and guidelines with respect to the instrumental set-up, measurement mode, data evaluation as well as quality control. Technical standards were developed for a minimum requirement of mobility size spectrometry to perform long-term atmospheric aerosol measurements. Technical recommendations include continuous monitoring of flow rates, temperature, pressure, and relative humidity for the sheath and sample air in the differential mobility analyzer. We compared commercial and custom-made inversion routines to calculate the particle number size distributions from the measured electrical mobility distribution. All inversion routines are comparable within few per cent uncertainty for a given set of raw data. Furthermore, this work summarizes the results from several instrument intercomparison workshops conducted within the European infrastructure project EUSAAR (European Supersites for Atmospheric Aerosol Research) and ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research InfraStructure Network) to determine present uncertainties especially of custom-built mobility particle size spectrometers. Under controlled laboratory conditions, the particle number size distributions from 20 to 200 nm determined by mobility particle size spectrometers of different design are within an uncertainty range of around ±10% after correcting internal particle losses, while below and above this size range the discrepancies increased. For particles larger than 200 nm, the uncertainty range increased to 30%, which could not be explained. The network reference mobility spectrometers with identical design agreed within ±4% in the peak particle number concentration when all settings were done carefully. The consistency of these reference instruments to the total particle number concentration was demonstrated to be less than 5%. Additionally, a new data structure for particle number size distributions was introduced to store and disseminate the data at EMEP (European Monitoring and Evaluation Program). This structure contains three levels: raw data, processed data, and final particle size distributions. Importantly, we recommend reporting raw measurements including all relevant instrument parameters as well as a complete documentation on all data transformation and correction steps. These technical and data structure standards aim to enhance the quality of long-term size distribution measurements, their comparability between different networks and sites, and their transparency and traceability back to raw data.
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    Diurnal variations of ambient particulate wood burning emissions and their contribution to the concentration of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Seiffen, Germany
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Poulain, L.; Iinuma, Y.; Müller, K.; Birmili, W.; Weinhold, K.; Brüggemann, E.; Gnauk, T.; Hausmann, A.; Löschau, G.; Wiedensohler, A.; Herrmann, H.
    Residential wood burning is becoming an increasingly important cause of air quality problems since it has become a popular source of alternative energy to fossil fuel. In order to characterize the contribution of residential wood burning to local particle pollution, a field campaign was organized at the village of Seiffen (Saxony, Germany). During this campaign, an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) was deployed in parallel to a PM1 high volume filter sampler. The AMS mass spectra were analyzed using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) to obtain detailed information about the organic aerosol (OA). Biomass-burning organic aerosol (BBOA), Hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA), and Oxygenated Organic Aerosol (OOA) were identified and represented 20%, 17% and 62% of total OA, respectively. Additionally, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) were measured by the AMS with an average concentration of 10 ng m−3 and short term events of extremely high PAH concentration (up to 500 ng m−3) compared to the mean PAH value were observed during the whole measurement period. A comparison with the results from PM1 filter samples showed that the BBOA factor and the AMS PAH are good indicators of the total concentration of the different monosaccharide anhydrides and PAH measured on the filter samples. Based on its low correlation with CO and the low car traffic, the HOA factor was considered to be related to residential heating using liquid fuel. An influence of the time of the week (week vs. weekend) on the diurnal profiles of the different OA components was observed. The weekdays were characterized by two maxima; a first one early in the morning and a stronger one in the evening. During the weekend days, the different OA components principally reached only one maximum in the afternoon. Finally, the PAH emitted directly from residential wood combustion was estimated to represent 1.5% of the total mass of the BBOA factor and around 62% of the total PAH concentration measured at Seiffen. This result highlights the important contribution of residential wood combustion to air quality and PAH emissions at the sampling place, which might have a significant impact on human health. Moreover, it also emphasizes the need for a better time resolution of the chemical characterization of toxic particulate compounds in order to provide more information on variations of the different sources through the days as well as to better estimate the real human exposure.
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    Variability of black carbon mass concentrations, sub-micrometer particle number concentrations and size distributions: results of the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network ranging from city street to High Alpine locations
    (Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier Science, 2018) Sun, J.; Birmili, W.; Hermann, M.; Tuch, T.; Weinhold, K.; Spindler, G.; Schladitz, A.; Bastian, S.; Löschau, G.; Cyrys, J.; Gu, J.; Flentje, H.; Briel, B.; Asbac, C.; Kaminski, H.; Ries, L.; Sohme, R.; Gerwig, H.; Wirtz, K.; Meinhardt, F.; Schwerin, A.; Bath, O.; Ma, N.; Wiedensohler, A.
    This work reports the first statistical analysis of multi-annual data on tropospheric aerosols from the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN). Compared to other networks worldwide, GUAN with 17 measurement locations has the most sites equipped with particle number size distribution (PNSD) and equivalent black carbon (eBC) instruments and the most site categories in Germany ranging from city street/roadside to High Alpine. As we know, the variations of eBC and particle number concentration (PNC) are influenced by several factors such as source, transformation, transport and deposition. The dominant controlling factor for different pollutant parameters might be varied, leading to the different spatio-temporal variations among the measured parameters. Currently, a study of spatio-temporal variations of PNSD and eBC considering the influences of both site categories and spatial scale is still missing. Based on the multi-site dataset of GUAN, the goal of this study is to investigate how pollutant parameters may interfere with spatial characteristics and site categories. © 2019 The Authors