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    First long-term study of particle number size distributions and new particle formation events of regional aerosol in the North China Plain
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Shen, X.J.; Sun, J.Y.; Zhang, Y.M.; Wehner, B.; Nowak, A.; Tuch, T.; Zhang, X.C.; Wang, T.T.; Zhou, H.G.; Zhang, X.L.; Dong, F.; Birmili, W.; Wiedensohler, A.
    Atmospheric particle number size distributions (size range 0.003–10 μm) were measured between March 2008 and August 2009 at Shangdianzi (SDZ), a rural research station in the North China Plain. These measurements were made in an attempt to better characterize the tropospheric background aerosol in Northern China. The mean particle number concentrations of the total particle, as well as the nucleation, Aitken, accumulation and coarse mode were determined to be 1.2 ± 0.9 × 104, 3.6 ± 7.9 × 103, 4.4 ± 3.4 × 103, 3.5 ± 2.8 × 103 and 2 ± 3 cm−3, respectively. A general finding was that the particle number concentration was higher during spring compared to the other seasons. The air mass origin had an important effect on the particle number concentration and new particle formation events. Air masses from northwest (i.e. inner Asia) favored the new particle formation events, while air masses from southeast showed the highest particle mass concentration. Significant diurnal variations in particle number were observed, which could be linked to new particle formation events, i.e. gas-to-particle conversion. During particle formation events, the number concentration of the nucleation mode rose up to maximum value of 104 cm−3. New particle formation events were observed on 36% of the effective measurement days. The formation rate ranged from 0.7 to 72.7 cm−3 s−1, with a mean value of 8.0 cm−3 s−1. The value of the nucleation mode growth rate was in the range of 0.3–14.5 nm h−1, with a mean value of 4.3 nm h−1. It was an essential observation that on many occasions the nucleation mode was able to grow into the size of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) within a matter of several hours. Furthermore, the new particle formation was regularly followed by a measurable increase in particle mass concentration and extinction coefficient, indicative of a high abundance of condensable vapors in the atmosphere under study.
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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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    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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    Primary versus secondary contributions to particle number concentrations in the European boundary layer
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Reddington, C.L.; Carslaw, K.S.; Spracklen, D.V.; Frontoso, M.G.; Collins, L.; Merikanto, J.; Minikin, A.; Hamburger, T.; Coe, H.; Kulmala, M.; Aalto, P.; Flentje, H.; Plass-Dülmer, C.; Birmili, W.; Wiedensohler, A.; Wehner, B.; Tuch, T.; Sonntag, A.; O'Dowd, C.D.; Jennings, S.G.; Dupuy, R.; Baltensperger, U.; Weingartner, E.; Hansson, H.-C.; Tunved, P.; Laj, P.; Sellegri, K.; Boulon, J.; Putaud, J.-P.; Gruening, C.; Swietlicki, E.; Roldin, P.; Henzing, J.S.; Moerman, M.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Kouvarakis, G.; Ždímal, V.; Zíková, N.; Marinoni, A.; Bonasoni, P.; Duchi, R.
    It is important to understand the relative contribution of primary and secondary particles to regional and global aerosol so that models can attribute aerosol radiative forcing to different sources. In large-scale models, there is considerable uncertainty associated with treatments of particle formation (nucleation) in the boundary layer (BL) and in the size distribution of emitted primary particles, leading to uncertainties in predicted cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations. Here we quantify how primary particle emissions and secondary particle formation influence size-resolved particle number concentrations in the BL using a global aerosol microphysics model and aircraft and ground site observations made during the May 2008 campaign of the European Integrated Project on Aerosol Cloud Climate Air Quality Interactions (EUCAARI). We tested four different parameterisations for BL nucleation and two assumptions for the emission size distribution of anthropogenic and wildfire carbonaceous particles. When we emit carbonaceous particles at small sizes (as recommended by the Aerosol Intercomparison project, AEROCOM), the spatial distributions of campaign-mean number concentrations of particles with diameter >50 nm (N50) and >100 nm (N100) were well captured by the model (R2≥0.8) and the normalised mean bias (NMB) was also small (−18% for N50 and −1% for N100). Emission of carbonaceous particles at larger sizes, which we consider to be more realistic for low spatial resolution global models, results in equally good correlation but larger bias (R2≥0.8, NMB = −52% and −29%), which could be partly but not entirely compensated by BL nucleation. Within the uncertainty of the observations and accounting for the uncertainty in the size of emitted primary particles, BL nucleation makes a statistically significant contribution to CCN-sized particles at less than a quarter of the ground sites. Our results show that a major source of uncertainty in CCN-sized particles in polluted European air is the emitted size of primary carbonaceous particles. New information is required not just from direct observations, but also to determine the "effective emission size" and composition of primary particles appropriate for different resolution models.
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    Tropospheric aerosol scattering and absorption over central Europe: A closure study for the dry particle state
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Ma, N.; Birmili, W.; Müller, T.; Tuch, T.; Cheng, Y.F.; Xu, W.Y.; Zhao, C.S.; Wiedensohler, A.
    This work analyses optical properties of the dry tropospheric aerosol measured at the regional Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) observation site Melpitz in East Germany. For a continuous observation period between 2007 and 2010, we provide representative values of the dry-state scattering coefficient, hemispheric backscattering coefficient, absorption coefficient, single scattering albedo, and scattering Ångström exponent. Besides the direct measurement, the aerosol scattering coefficient was alternatively computed from experimental particle number size distributions using a Mie model. Within pre-defined limits, a closure could be achieved with the direct measurement. The achievement of closure implies that such calculations can be used as a high-level quality control measure for data sets involving multiple instrumentation. All dry-state optical properties show pronounced annual and diurnal variations, which are attributed to the corresponding variations in the regional emission fluxes, the intensity of secondary particle formation, and the mixing layer height. Air mass classification shows that atmospheric stability is a major factor influencing the dry aerosol properties at the GAW station. In the cold season, temperature inversions limit the volume available for atmospheric mixing, so that the dry-state aerosol optical properties near the ground proved quite sensitive to the geographical origin of the air mass. In the warm season, when the atmosphere is usually well-mixed during daytime, considerably less variability was observed for the optical properties between different air masses. This work provides, on the basis of quality-checked in situ measurements, a first step towards a climatological assessment of direct aerosol radiative forcing in the region under study.