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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
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    A case of extreme particulate matter concentrations over Central Europe caused by dust emitted over the southern Ukraine
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2008) Birmili, W.; Schepanski, K.; Ansmann, A.; Spindler, G.; Tegen, I.; Wehner, B.; Nowak, A.; Reimer, E.; Mattis, I.; Müller, K.; Brüggemann, E.; Gnauk, T.; Herrmann, H.; Wiedensohler, A.; Althausen, D.; Schladitz, A.; Tuch, T.; Löschau, G.
    On 24 March 2007, an extraordinary dust plume was observed in the Central European troposphere. Satellite observations revealed its origins in a dust storm in Southern Ukraine, where large amounts of soil were resuspended from dried-out farmlands at wind gusts up to 30 m s−1. Along the pathway of the plume, maximum particulate matter (PM10) mass concentrations between 200 and 1400 μg m−3 occurred in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany. Over Germany, the dust plume was characterised by a volume extinction coefficient up to 400 Mm−1 and a particle optical depth of 0.71 at wavelength 0.532 μm. In-situ size distribution measurements as well as the wavelength dependence of light extinction from lidar and Sun photometer measurements confirmed the presence of a coarse particle mode with diameters around 2–3 μm. Chemical particle analyses suggested a fraction of 75% crustal material in daily average PM10 and up to 85% in the coarser fraction PM10–2.5. Based on the particle characteristics as well as a lack of increased CO and CO2 levels, a significant impact of biomass burning was ruled out. The reasons for the high particle concentrations in the dust plume were twofold: First, dust was transported very rapidly into Central Europe in a boundary layer jet under dry conditions. Second, the dust plume was confined to a relatively stable boundary layer of 1.4–1.8 km height, and could therefore neither expand nor dilute efficiently. Our findings illustrate the capacity of combined in situ and remote sensing measurements to characterise large-scale dust plumes with a variety of aerosol parameters. Although such plumes from Southern Eurasia seem to occur rather infrequently in Central Europe, its unexpected features highlights the need to improve the description of dust emission, transport and transformation processes needs, particularly when facing the possible effects of further anthropogenic desertification and climate change.
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    Relating particle hygroscopicity and CCN activity to chemical composition during the HCCT-2010 field campaign
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2013) Wu, Z.J.; Poulain, L.; Henning, S.; Dieckmann, K.; Birmili, W.; Merkel, M.; van Pinxteren, D.; Spindler, G.; Müller, K.; Stratmann, F.; Herrmann, H.; Wiedensohler, A.
    Particle hygroscopic growth at 90% RH (relative humidity), cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity, and size-resolved chemical composition were concurrently measured in the Thüringer Wald mid-level mountain range in central Germany in the fall of 2010. The median hygroscopicity parameter values, κ, of 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, and 250 nm particles derived from hygroscopicity measurements are respectively 0.14, 0.14, 0.17, 0.21, 0.24, and 0.28 during the sampling period. The closure between HTDMA (Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzers)-measured (κHTDMA) and chemical composition-derived (κchem) hygroscopicity parameters was performed based on the Zdanovskii–Stokes–Robinson (ZSR) mixing rule. Using size-averaged chemical composition, the κ values are substantially overpredicted (30 and 40% for 150 and 100 nm particles). Introducing size-resolved chemical composition substantially improved closure. We found that the evaporation of NH4NO3, which may happen in a HTDMA system, could lead to a discrepancy in predicted and measured particle hygroscopic growth. The hygroscopic parameter of the organic fraction, κorg, is positively correlated with the O : C ratio (κorg = 0.19 × (O : C) − 0.03). Such correlation is helpful to define the κorg value in the closure study. κ derived from CCN measurement was around 30% (varied with particle diameters) higher than that determined from particle hygroscopic growth measurements (here, hydrophilic mode is considered only). This difference might be explained by the surface tension effects, solution non-ideality, gas-particle partitioning of semivolatile compounds, and the partial solubility of constituents or non-dissolved particle matter. Therefore, extrapolating from HTDMA data to properties at the point of activation should be done with great care. Finally, closure study between CCNc (cloud condensation nucleus counter)-measured (κCCN) and chemical composition (κCCN, chem) was performed using CCNc-derived κ values for individual components. The results show that the κCCN can be well predicted using particle size-resolved chemical composition and the ZSR mixing rule.
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    Size distributions of non-volatile particle residuals (Dp<800 nm) at a rural site in Germany and relation to air mass origin
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2007) Engler, C.; Rose, D.; Wehner, B.; Wiedensohler, A.; Brüggemann, E.; Gnauk, T.; Spindler, G.; Tuch, T.; Birmili, W.
    Atmospheric aerosol particle size distributions at a continental background site in Eastern Germany were examined for a one-year period. Particles were classified using a twin differential mobility particle sizer in a size range between 3 and 800 nm. As a novelty, every second measurement of this experiment involved the removal of volatile chemical compounds in a thermodenuder at 300°C. This concept allowed to quantify the number size distribution of non-volatile particle cores – primarily associated with elemental carbon, and to compare this to the original non-conditioned size distribution. As a byproduct of the volatility analysis, new particles originating from nucleation inside the thermodenuder can be observed, however, overwhelmingly at diameters below 6 nm. Within the measurement uncertainty, every particle down to particle sizes of 15 nm is concluded to contain a non-volatile core. The volume fraction of non-volatile particulate matter (non-conditioned diameter < 800 nm) varied between 10 and 30% and was largely consistent with the experimentally determined mass fraction of elemental carbon. The average size of the non-volatile particle cores was estimated as a function of original non-conditioned size using a summation method, which showed that larger particles (>200 nm) contained more non-volatile compounds than smaller particles (<50 nm), thus indicating a significantly different chemical composition. Two alternative air mass classification schemes based on either, synoptic chart analysis (Berliner Wetterkarte) or back trajectories showed that the volume and number fraction of non-volatile cores depended less on air mass than the total particle number concentration. In all air masses, the non-volatile size distributions showed a more and a less volatile ("soot") mode, the latter being located at about 50 nm. During unstable conditions and in maritime air masses, smaller values were observed compared to stable or continental conditions. This reflects the significant emission of non-volatile material over the continent and, depending on atmospheric stratification, increased concentrations at ground level.
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    Seasonal and diurnal variations of particulate nitrate and organic matter at the IfT research station Melpitz
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Poulain, L.; Spindler, G.; Birmili, W.; Plass-Dülmer, C.; Weinhold, K.; Wiedensohler, A.; Herrmann, H.
    Ammonium nitrate and several organic compounds such as dicarboxylic acids (e.g. succinic acid, glutaric acid), some Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAHs) or some n-alkanes are semi-volatile. The transition of these compounds between the gas and particulate phase may significantly change the aerosol particles radiative properties, the heterogeneous chemical properties, and, naturally, the total particulate mass concentration. To better assess these time-dependent effects, three intensive field experiments were conducted in 2008–2009 at the Central European EMEP research station Melpitz (Germany) using an Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS). Data from all seasons highlight organic matter as being the most important particulate fraction of PM1 in summer (59%) while in winter, the nitrate fraction was more prevalent (34.4%). The diurnal variation of nitrate always showed the lowest concentration during the day while its concentration increased during the night. This night increase of nitrate concentration was higher in winter (ΔNO3− = 3.6 μg m−3) than in summer (ΔNO3− = 0.7 μg m−3). The variation in particulate nitrate was inherently linked to the gas-to-particle-phase equilibrium of ammonium nitrate and the dynamics of the atmosphere during day. The results of this study suggest that during summer nights, the condensation of HNO3 and NH3 on pre-existing particles represents the most prevalent source of nitrate, whereas during winter, nighttime chemistry is the predominant source of nitrate. During the summer 2008's campaign, a clear diurnal evolution in the oxidation state of the organic matter became evident (Organic Mass to Organic Carbon ratio (OM/OC) ranging from 1.65 during night to 1.80 during day and carbon oxidation state (OSc) from −0.66 to −0.4), which could be correlated to hydroxyl radical (OH) and ozone concentrations, indicating a photochemical transformation process. In summer, the organic particulate matter seemed to be heavily influenced by regional secondary formation and transformation processes, facilitated by photochemical production processes as well as a diurnal cycling of the substances between the gas and particulate phase. In winter, these processes were obviously less pronounced (OM/OC ranging from 1.60 to 1.67 and OSc from −0.8 to −0.7), so that organic matter apparently originated mainly from aged particles and long range transport.
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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
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    Comprehensive assessment of meteorological conditions and airflow connectivity during HCCT-2010
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Tilgner, A.; Schöne, L.; Bräuer, P.; van Pinxteren, D.; Hoffmann, E.; Spindler, G.; Styler, S.A.; Mertes, S.; Birmili, W.; Otto, R.; Merkel, M.; Weinhold, K.; Wiedensohler, A.; Deneke, H.; Schrödner, R.; Wolke, R.; Schneider, J.; Haunold, W.; Engel, A.; Wéber, A.; Herrmann, H.
    This study presents a comprehensive assessment of the meteorological conditions and atmospheric flow during the Lagrangian-type "Hill Cap Cloud Thuringia 2010" experiment (HCCT-2010), which was performed in September and October 2010 at Mt. Schmücke in the Thuringian Forest, Germany and which used observations at three measurement sites (upwind, in-cloud, and downwind) to study physical and chemical aerosol–cloud interactions. A Lagrangian-type hill cap cloud experiment requires not only suitable cloud conditions but also connected airflow conditions (i.e. representative air masses at the different measurement sites). The primary goal of the present study was to identify time periods during the 6-week duration of the experiment in which these conditions were fulfilled and therefore which are suitable for use in further data examinations. The following topics were studied in detail: (i) the general synoptic weather situations, including the mesoscale flow conditions, (ii) local meteorological conditions and (iii) local flow conditions. The latter were investigated by means of statistical analyses using best-available quasi-inert tracers, SF6 tracer experiments in the experiment area, and regional modelling. This study represents the first application of comprehensive analyses using statistical measures such as the coefficient of divergence (COD) and the cross-correlation in the context of a Lagrangian-type hill cap cloud experiment. This comprehensive examination of local flow connectivity yielded a total of 14 full-cloud events (FCEs), which are defined as periods during which all connected flow and cloud criteria for a suitable Lagrangian-type experiment were fulfilled, and 15 non-cloud events (NCEs), which are defined as periods with connected flow but no cloud at the summit site, and which can be used as reference cases. The overall evaluation of the identified FCEs provides the basis for subsequent investigations of the measured chemical and physical data during HCCT-2010 (see
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    Chemical mass balance of 300 °c non-volatile particles at the tropospheric research site Melpitz, Germany
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Poulain, L.; Birmili, W.; Canonaco, F.; Crippa, M.; Wu, Z.J.; Nordmann, S.; Wiedensohler, A.; Held, A.; Spindler, G.; Prévôt, A.S.H.; Wiedensohler, A.; Herrmann, H.
    In the fine-particle mode (aerodynamic diameter < 1 μm) non-volatile material has been associated with black carbon (BC) and low-volatile organics and, to a lesser extent, with sea salt and mineral dust. This work analyzes non-volatile particles at the tropospheric research station Melpitz (Germany), combining experimental methods such as a mobility particle-size spectrometer (3–800 nm), a thermodenuder operating at 300 °C, a multi-angle absorption photometer (MAAP), and an aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS). The data were collected during two atmospheric field experiments in May–June 2008 as well as February–March 2009. As a basic result, we detected average non-volatile particle–volume fractions of 11 ± 3% (2008) and 17 ± 8% (2009). In both periods, BC was in close linear correlation with the non-volatile fraction, but not sufficient to quantitatively explain the non-volatile particle mass concentration. Based on the assumption that BC is not altered by the heating process, the non-volatile particle mass fraction could be explained by the sum of black carbon (47% in summer, 59% in winter) and a non-volatile organic contribution estimated as part of the low-volatility oxygenated organic aerosol (LV-OOA) (53% in summer, 41% in winter); the latter was identified from AMS data by factor analysis. Our results suggest that LV-OOA was more volatile in summer (May–June 2008) than in winter (February–March 2009) which was linked to a difference in oxidation levels (lower in summer). Although carbonaceous compounds dominated the sub-μm non-volatile particle mass fraction most of the time, a cross-sensitivity to partially volatile aerosol particles of maritime origin could be seen. These marine particles could be distinguished, however from the carbonaceous particles by a characteristic particle volume–size distribution. The paper discusses the uncertainty of the volatility measurements and outlines the possible merits of volatility analysis as part of continuous atmospheric aerosol measurements.
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    Changes in the production rate of secondary aerosol particles in Central Europe in view of decreasing SO2 emissions between 1996 and 2006
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2010) Hamed, A.; Birmili, W.; Joutsensaari, J.; Mikkonen, S.; Asmi, A.; Wehner, B.; Spindler, G.; Jaatinen, A.; Wiedensohler, A.; Korhonen, H.; Lehtinen, K.E.J.; Laaksonen, A.
    In anthropogenically influenced atmospheres, sulphur dioxide (SO2) is the main precursor of gaseous sulphuric acid (H2SO4), which in turn is a main precursor for atmospheric particle nucleation. As a result of socio-economic changes, East Germany has seen a dramatic decrease in anthropogenic SO2 emissions between 1989 and present, as documented by routine air quality measurements in many locations. We have attempted to evaluate the influence of changing SO2 concentrations on the frequency and intensity of new particle formation (NPF) using two different data sets (1996–1997; 2003–2006) of experimental particle number size distributions (diameter range 3–750 nm) from the atmospheric research station Melpitz near Leipzig, Germany. Between the two periods SO2 concentrations decreased by 65% on average, while the frequency of NPF events dropped by 45%. Meanwhile, the average formation rate of 3 nm particles decreased by 68% on average. The trends were statistically significant and therefore suggest a connection between the availability of anthropogenic SO2 and freshly formed new particles. In contrast to the decrease in new particle formation, we found an increase in the mean growth rate of freshly nucleated particles (+22%), suggesting that particle nucleation and subsequent growth into larger sizes are delineated with respect to their precursor species. Using three basic parameters, the condensation sink for H2SO4, the SO2 concentration, and the global radiation intensity, we were able to define the characteristic range of atmospheric conditions under which particle formation events take place at the Melpitz site. While the decrease in the concentrations and formation rates of the new particles was rather evident, no similar decrease was found with respect to the generation of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN; particle diameter >100 nm) as a result of atmospheric nucleation events. On the contrary, the production of CCN following nucleation events appears to have increased by tens of percents. Our aerosol dynamics model simulations suggest that such an increase can be caused by the increased particle growth rate.
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    Analysis of exceedances in the daily PM10 mass concentration (50 μg m−3) at a roadside station in Leipzig, Germany
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2012) Engler, C.; Birmili, W.; Spindler, G.; Wiedensohler, A.
    Five years of PM10 and PM2.5 ambient air measurements at a roadside, an urban, and a regional background site in Leipzig (Germany) were analyzed for violations of the legal PM10 limit value (EC, 1999). The annual mean PM10 concentrations at the three sites were well below the legal threshold of 40 μg m−3 (32.6, 22.0 and 21.7 μg m−3, respectively). At roadside, the daily maximum value of 50 μg m−3 was exceeded on 232 days (13% of all days) in 2005–2009, which led to a violation of the EC directive in three out of five years. We analysed the meteorological factors and local source contributions that eventually led to the exceedances of the daily limit value. As noted in other urban environments before, most exceedance days were observed in the cold season. Exceedance days were most probable under synoptic situations characterised by stagnant winds, low temperatures and strong temperature inversions in winter time. However, these extreme situations accounted for only less than half of the exeedance days. We also noticed a significant number of exceedance days that occurred in the cold season under south-westerly winds, and in the warm season in the presence of easterly winds. Our analysis suggests that local as well as regional sources of PM are equally responsible for exceedances days at the roadside site. The conclusion is that a combined effort of local, national and international reduction measures appears most likely to avoid systematic exceedances of the daily limit value in the future.