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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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    Particle size distributions in the Eastern Mediterranean troposphere
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2008) Kalivitis, N.; Birmili, W.; Stock, M.; Wehner, B.; Massling, A.; Wiedensohler, A.; Gerasopoulos, E.; Mihalopoulos, N.
    Atmospheric particle size distributions were measured on Crete island, Greece in the Eastern Mediterranean during an intensive field campaign between 28 August and 20 October, 2005. Our instrumentation combined a differential mobility particle sizer (DMPS) and an aerodynamic particle sizer (APS) and measured number size distributions in the size range 0.018 μm–10 μm. Four time periods with distinct aerosol characteristics were discriminated, two corresponding to marine and polluted air masses, respectively. In marine air, the sub-μm size distributions showed two particle modes centered at 67 nm and 195 nm having total number concentrations between 900 and 2000 cm−3. In polluted air masses, the size distributions were mainly unimodal with a mode typically centered at 140 nm, with number concentrations varying between 1800 and 2900 cm−3. Super-μm particles showed number concentrations in the range from 0.01 to 2.5 cm−3 without any clear relation to air mass origin. A small number of short-lived particle nucleation events were recorded, where the calculated particle formation rates ranged between 1.1–1.7 cm−3 s−1. However, no particle nucleation and growth events comparable to those typical for the continental boundary layer were observed. Particles concentrations (Diameter <50 nm) were low compared to continental boundary layer conditions with an average concentration of 300 cm−3. The production of sulfuric acid and its subsequently condensation on preexisting particles was examined with the use of a simplistic box model. These calculations suggested that the day-time evolution of the Aitken particle population was governed mainly by coagulation and that particle formation was absent during most days.
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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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    Spatio-temporal variability and principal components of the particle number size distribution in an urban atmosphere
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2009) Costabile, F.; Birmili, W.; Klose, S.; Tuch, T.; Wehner, B.; Wiedensohler, A.; Franck, U.; König, K.; Sonntag, A.
    A correct description of fine (diameter <1 μm) and ultrafine (<0.1 μm) aerosol particles in urban areas is of interest for particle exposure assessment but also basic atmospheric research. We examined the spatio-temporal variability of atmospheric aerosol particles (size range 3–800 nm) using concurrent number size distribution measurements at a maximum of eight observation sites in and around Leipzig, a city in Central Europe. Two main experiments were conducted with different time span and number of observation sites (2 years at 3 sites; 1 month at 8 sites). A general observation was that the particle number size distribution varied in time and space in a complex fashion as a result of interaction between local and far-range sources, and the meteorological conditions. To identify statistically independent factors in the urban aerosol, different runs of principal component (PC) analysis were conducted encompassing aerosol, gas phase, and meteorological parameters from the multiple sites. Several of the resulting PCs, outstanding with respect to their temporal persistence and spatial coverage, could be associated with aerosol particle modes: a first accumulation mode ("droplet mode", 300–800 nm), considered to be the result of liquid phase processes and far-range transport; a second accumulation mode (centered around diameters 90–250 nm), considered to result from primary emissions as well as aging through condensation and coagulation; an Aitken mode (30–200 nm) linked to urban traffic emissions in addition to an urban and a rural Aitken mode; a nucleation mode (5–20 nm) linked to urban traffic emissions; nucleation modes (3–20 nm) linked to photochemically induced particle formation; an aged nucleation mode (10–50 nm). Additional PCs represented only local sources at a single site, or infrequent phenomena. In summary, the analysis of size distributions of high time and size resolution yielded a surprising wealth of statistical aerosol components occurring in the urban atmosphere over one single city. A paradigm on the behaviour of sub-μm urban aerosol particles is proposed, with recommendations how to efficiently monitor individual sub-fractions across an entire city.
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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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    Hygroscopic properties of atmospheric aerosol particles over the Eastern Mediterranean: Implications for regional direct radiative forcing under clean and polluted conditions
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Stock, M.; Cheng, Y.F.; Birmili, W.; Massling, A.; Wehner, B.; Müller, T.; Leinert, S.; Kalivitis, N.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Wiedensohler, A.
    This work examines the effect of direct radiative forcing of aerosols in the eastern Mediterranean troposphere as a function of air mass composition, particle size distribution and hygroscopicity, and relative humidity (RH). During intensive field measurements on the island of Crete, Greece, the hygroscopic properties of atmospheric particles were determined using a Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (H-TDMA) and a Hygroscopicity Differential Mobility Analyzer-Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (H-DMA-APS). Similar to former studies, the H-TDMA identified three hygroscopic sub-fractions of particles in the sub-μm range: a more hygroscopic group, a less hygroscopic group and a nearly hydrophobic particle group. The average hygroscopic particle growth factors at 90 % RH were a significant function of particle mobility diameter (Dp): 1.42 (± 0.05) at 30 nm compared to 1.63 (± 0.07) at 250 nm. The H-DMA-APS identified up to three hygroscopic sub-fractions at mobility diameters of 1.0 and 1.2 μm. The data recorded between 12 August and 20 October 2005 were classified into four distinct synoptic-scale air mass types distinguishing between different regions of origin (western Mediterranean vs. the Aegean Sea) as well as the degree of continental pollution (marine vs. continentally influenced). The hygroscopic properties of particles with diameter Dp≥150 nm showed the most pronounced dependency on air mass origin, with growth factors in marine air masses exceeding those in continentally influenced air masses. Particle size distributions and hygroscopic growth factors were used to calculate aerosol light scattering coefficients at ambient RH using a Mie model. A main result was the pronounced enhancement of particle scattering over the eastern Mediterranean due to hygroscopic growth, both in the marine and continentally influenced air masses. When RH reached its summer daytime values around 70–80 %, up to 50–70 % of the calculated visibility reduction was due to the hygroscopic growth of the particles by water compared to the effect of the dry particles alone. The estimated aerosol direct radiative forcings for both, marine and continentally influenced air masses were negative indicating a net cooling of the atmosphere due to the aerosol. The radiative forcing ΔFr was nevertheless governed by the total aerosol concentration most of the time: ΔFr was typically more negative for continentally influenced aerosols (ca. −4 W m−2) compared to rather clean marine aerosols (ca. −1.5 W m−2). When RH occasionally reached 90 % in marine air masses, ΔFr even reached values down to −7 W m−2. Our results emphasize, on the basis of explicit particle hygroscopicity measurements, the relevance of ambient RH for the radiative forcing of regional atmospheres.
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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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    Hygroscopic growth of urban aerosol particles in Beijing (China) during wintertime: A comparison of three experimental methods
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2009) Meier, J.; Wehner, B.; Massling, A.; Birmili, W.; Nowak, A.; Gnauk, T.; Brüggemann, E.; Herrmann, H.; Min, H.; Wiedensohler, A.
    The hygroscopic properties of atmospheric aerosols are highly relevant for the quantification of radiative effects in the atmosphere, but also of interest for the assessment of particle health effects upon inhalation. This article reports measurements of aerosol particle hygroscopicity in the highly polluted urban atmosphere of Beijing, China in January 2005. The meteorological conditions corresponded to a relatively cold and dry atmosphere. Three different methods were used: 1) A combination of Humidifying Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (H-DMPS) and Twin Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (TDMPS) measurements, 2) A Hygroscopic Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer (H-TDMA), and 3) A simplistic solubility model fed by chemical particle composition determined from Micro Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (MOUDI) samples. From the H-DMPS and TDMPS particle number size distributions, a size-resolved descriptive hygroscopic growth factor (DHGF) was determined for the relative humidities (RH) 55%, 77% and 90%, and particle diameters between 30 and 400 nm. In Beijing, the highest DHGFs were observed for accumulation mode particles, 1.40 (±0.03) at 90% RH. DHGF decreased significantly with particle size, reaching 1.04 (±0.15) at 30 nm. H-TDMA data also suggest a decrease in growth factor towards the biggest particles investigated (350 nm), associated with an increasing fraction of nearly hydrophobic particles. The agreement between the H-DMPS/TDMPS and H-TDMA methods was satisfactory in the accumulation mode size range (100–400 nm). In the Aitken mode range (<100 nm), the H-DMPS/TDMPS method yielded growth factors lower by up to 0.1 at 90% RH. The application of the solubility model based on measured chemical composition clearly reproduced the size-dependent trend in hygroscopic particle growth observed by the other methods. In the case of aerosol dominated by inorganic ions, the composition-derived growth factors tended to agree (± 0.05) or underestimate (up to 0.1) the values measured by the other two methods. In the case of aerosol dominated by organics, the reverse was true, with an overestimation of up to 0.2. The results shed light on the experimental and methodological uncertainties that are still connected with the determination of hygroscopic growth factors.
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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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    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.