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    Ion-particle interactions during particle formation and growth at a coniferous forest site in central Europe
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Gonser, S.G.; Klein, F.; Birmili, W.; Größ, J.; Kulmala, M.; Manninen, H.E.; Wiedensohler, A.; Held, A.
    In this work, we examined the interaction of ions and neutral particles during atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) events. The analysis is based on simultaneous field measurements of atmospheric ions and total particles using a neutral cluster and air ion spectrometer (NAIS) across the diameter range 2–25 nm. The Waldstein research site is located in a spruce forest in NE Bavaria, Southern Germany, known for enhanced radon concentrations, presumably leading to elevated ionization rates. Our observations show that the occurrence of the ion nucleation mode preceded that of the total particle nucleation mode during all analyzed NPF events. The time difference between the appearance of 2 nm ions and 2 nm total particles was typically about 20 to 30 min. A cross correlation analysis showed a rapid decrease of the time difference between the ion and total modes during the growth process. Eventually, this time delay vanished when both ions and total particles did grow to larger diameters. Considering the growth rates of ions and total particles separately, total particles exhibited enhanced growth rates at diameters below 15 nm. This observation cannot be explained by condensation or coagulation, because these processes would act more efficiently on charged particles compared to neutral particles. To explain our observations, we propose a mechanism including recombination and attachment of continuously present cluster ions with the ion nucleation mode and the neutral nucleation mode, respectively.
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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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    Variations in tropospheric submicron particle size distributions across the European continent 2008-2009
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Beddows, D.C.S.; Dall'Osto, M.; Harrison, R.M.; Kulmala, M.; Asmi, A.; Wiedensohler, A.; Laj, P.; Fjaeraa, A.M.; Sellegri, K.; Birmili, W.; Bukowiecki, N.; Weingartner, E.; Baltensperger, U.; Zdimal, V.; Zikova, N.; Putaud, J.-P.; Marinoni, A.; Tunved, P.; Hansson, H.-C.; Fiebig, M.; Kivekäs, N.; Swietlicki, E.; Lihavainen, H.; Asmi, E.; Ulevicius, V.; Aalto, P.P.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Kalivitis, N.; Kalapov, I.; Kiss, G.; de Leeuw, G.; Henzing, B.; O'Dowd, C.; Jennings, S.G.; Flentje, H.; Meinhardt, F.; Ries, L.; Denier van der Gon, H.A.C.; Visschedijk, A.J.H.
    Cluster~analysis of particle number size distributions from~background sites across Europe~is presented. This generated a total of nine clusters of particle size distributions which could be further combined into two main groups, namely: a south-to-north category (four clusters) and a west-to-east category (five clusters). The first group was identified as most frequently being detected inside and around northern Germany and neighbouring countries, showing clear evidence of local afternoon nucleation and growth events that could be linked to movement of air masses from south to north arriving ultimately at the Arctic contributing to Arctic haze.~The second group of particle size spectra proved to have narrower size distributions and collectively showed a dependence of modal diameter upon the longitude of the site (west to east) at which they were most frequently detected.~These clusters indicated regional nucleation (at the coastal sites) growing to larger modes further inland. The apparent growth rate of the modal diameter was around 0.6–0.9 nm h−1. Four specific air mass back-trajectories were successively taken as case studies to examine in real time the evolution of aerosol size distributions across Europe. ~While aerosol growth processes can be observed as aerosol traverses Europe, the processes are often obscured by the addition of aerosol by emissions en route. This study revealed that some of the 24 stations exhibit more complex behaviour than others, especially when impacted by local sources or a variety of different air masses. Overall, the aerosol size distribution clustering analysis greatly simplifies the complex data set and allows a description of aerosol aging processes, which reflects the longer-term average development of particle number size distributions as air masses advect across Europe.
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    Mobility particle size spectrometers: Calibration procedures and measurement uncertainties
    (Philadelphia, Pa : Taylor & Francis, 2017) Wiedensohler, A.; Wiesner, A.; Weinhold, K.; Birmili, W.; Hermann, M.; Merkel, M.; Müller, T.; Pfeifer, S.; Schmidt, A.; Tuch, T.; Velarde, F.; Quincey, P.; Seeger, S.; Nowak, A.
    Mobility particle size spectrometers (MPSS) belong to the essential instruments in aerosol science that determine the particle number size distribution (PNSD) in the submicrometer size range. Following calibration procedures and target uncertainties against standards and reference instruments are suggested for a complete MPSS quality assurance program: (a) calibration of the CPC counting efficiency curve (within 5% for the plateau counting efficiency; within 1 nm for the 50% detection efficiency diameter), (b) sizing calibration of the MPSS, using a certified polystyrene latex (PSL) particle size standard at 203 nm (within 3%), (c) intercomparison of the PNSD of the MPSS (within 10% and 20% of the dN/dlogDP concentration for the particle size range 20–200 and 200–800 nm, respectively), and (d) intercomparison of the integral PNC of the MPSS (within 10%). Furthermore, following measurement uncertainties have been investigated: (a) PSL particle size standards in the range from 100 to 500 nm match within 1% after sizing calibration at 203 nm. (b) Bipolar diffusion chargers based on the radioactive nuclides Kr85, Am241, and Ni63 and a new ionizer based on corona discharge follow the recommended bipolar charge distribution, while soft X-ray-based charges may alter faster than expected. (c) The use of a positive high voltage supply show a 10% better performance than a negative one. (d) The intercomparison of the integral PNC of an MPSS against the total number concentration is still within the target uncertainty at an ambient pressure of approximately 500 hPa. Copyright © 2018 Published with license by American Association for Aerosol Research.
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    Number size distributions and seasonality of submicron particles in Europe 2008–2009
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Asmi, A.; Wiedensohler, A.; Laj, P.; Fjaeraa, A.-M.; Sellegri, K.; Birmili, W.; Weingartner, E.; Baltensperger, U.; Zdimal, V.; Zikova, N.; Putaud, J.-P.; Marinoni, A.; Tunved, P.; Hansson, H.-C.; Fiebig, M.; Kivekäs, N.; Lihavainen, H.; Asmi, E.; Ulevicius, V.; Aalto, P.P.; Swietlicki, E.; Kristensson, A.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Kalivitis, N.; Kalapov, I.; Kiss, G.; de Leeuw, G.; Henzing, B.; Harrison, R.M.; Beddows, D.; O'Dowd, C.; Jennings, S.G.; Flentje, H.; Weinhold, K.; Meinhardt, F.; Ries, L.; Kulmala, M.
    Two years of harmonized aerosol number size distribution data from 24 European field monitoring sites have been analysed. The results give a comprehensive overview of the European near surface aerosol particle number concentrations and number size distributions between 30 and 500 nm of dry particle diameter. Spatial and temporal distribution of aerosols in the particle sizes most important for climate applications are presented. We also analyse the annual, weekly and diurnal cycles of the aerosol number concentrations, provide log-normal fitting parameters for median number size distributions, and give guidance notes for data users. Emphasis is placed on the usability of results within the aerosol modelling community. We also show that the aerosol number concentrations of Aitken and accumulation mode particles (with 100 nm dry diameter as a cut-off between modes) are related, although there is significant variation in the ratios of the modal number concentrations. Different aerosol and station types are distinguished from this data and this methodology has potential for further categorization of stations aerosol number size distribution types. The European submicron aerosol was divided into characteristic types: Central European aerosol, characterized by single mode median size distributions, unimodal number concentration histograms and low variability in CCN-sized aerosol number concentrations; Nordic aerosol with low number concentrations, although showing pronounced seasonal variation of especially Aitken mode particles; Mountain sites (altitude over 1000 m a.s.l.) with a strong seasonal cycle in aerosol number concentrations, high variability, and very low median number concentrations. Southern and Western European regions had fewer stations, which decreases the regional coverage of these results. Aerosol number concentrations over the Britain and Ireland had very high variance and there are indications of mixed air masses from several source regions; the Mediterranean aerosol exhibit high seasonality, and a strong accumulation mode in the summer. The greatest concentrations were observed at the Ispra station in Northern Italy with high accumulation mode number concentrations in the winter. The aerosol number concentrations at the Arctic station Zeppelin in Ny-\AA lesund in Svalbard have also a strong seasonal cycle, with greater concentrations of accumulation mode particles in winter, and dominating summer Aitken mode indicating more recently formed particles. Observed particles did not show any statistically significant regional work-week or weekday related variation in number concentrations studied. Analysis products are made for open-access to the research community, available in a freely accessible internet site. The results give to the modelling community a reliable, easy-to-use and freely available comparison dataset of aerosol size distributions.
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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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    Analysis of number size distributions of tropical free tropospheric aerosol particles observed at Pico Espejo (4765 m a.s.l.), Venezuela
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Schmeissner, T.; Krejci, R.; Ström, J.; Birmili, W.; Wiedensohler, A.; Hochschild, G.; Gross, J.; Hoffmann, P.; Calderon, S.
    The first long-term measurements of aerosol number and size distributions in South-American tropical free troposphere (FT) were performed from March 2007 until March 2009. The measurements took place at the high altitude Atmospheric Research Station Alexander von Humboldt. The station is located on top of the Sierra Nevada mountain ridge at 4765 m a.s.l. nearby the city of Mérida, Venezuela. Aerosol size distribution and number concentration data was obtained with a custom-built Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (DMPS) system and a Condensational Particle Counter (CPC). The analysis of the annual and diurnal variability of the tropical FT aerosol focused mainly on possible links to the atmospheric general circulation in the tropics. Considerable annual and diurnal cycles of the particle number concentration were observed. Highest total particle number concentrations were measured during the dry season (January–March, 519 ± 613 cm−3), lowest during the wet season (July–September, 318 ± 194 cm−3). The more humid FT (relative humidity (RH) range 50–95 %) contained generally higher aerosol particle number concentrations (573 ± 768 cm−3 during dry season, 320 ± 195 cm−3 during wet season) than the dry FT (RH < 50 %, 454 ± 332 cm−3 during dry season, 275 ± 172 cm−3 during wet season), indicating the importance of convection for aerosol distributions in the tropical FT. The diurnal cycle in the variability of the particle number concentration was mainly driven by local orography.
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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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    Black carbon emission and transport mechanisms to the free troposphere at the La Paz/El Alto (Bolivia) metropolitan area based on the Day of Census (2012)
    (Oxford [u.a.] : Elsevier, 2018) Wiedensohler, A.; Andrade, M.; Weinhold, K.; Müller, T.; Birmili, W.; Velarde, F.; Moreno, I.; Forno, R.; Sanchez, M.F.; Laj, P.; Ginot, P.; Whiteman, D.N.; Krejci, R.; Sellegri, K.; Reichler, T.
    Urban development, growing industrialization, and increasing demand for mobility have led to elevated levels of air pollution in many large cities in Latin America, where air quality standards and WHO guidelines are frequently exceeded. The conurbation of the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto is one of the fastest growing urban settlements in South America with the particularity of being located in a very complex terrain at a high altitude. As many large cities or metropolitan areas, the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto and the Altiplano region are facing air quality deterioration. Long-term measurement data of the equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentrations and particle number size distributions (PNSD) from the Global Atmosphere Watch Observatory Chacaltaya (CHC; 5240 m a.s.l., above sea level) indicated a systematic transport of particle matter from the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto to this high altitude station and subsequently to the lower free troposphere. To better understand the sources and the transport mechanisms, we conducted eBC and PNSDs measurements during an intensive campaign at two locations in the urban area of La Paz/El Alto from September to November 2012. While the airport of El Alto site (4040 m a.s.l.) can be seen as representative of the urban and Altiplano background, the road site located in Central La Paz (3590 m a.s.l.) is representative for heavy traffic-dominated conditions. Peaks of eBC mass concentrations up to 5 μg m−3 were observed at the El Alto background site in the early morning and evening, while minimum values were detected in the early afternoon, mainly due to thermal convection and change of the planetary boundary layer height. The traffic-related eBC mass concentrations at the road site reached maximum values of 10–20 μg m−3. A complete traffic ban on the specific Bolivian Day of Census (November 21, 2012) led to a decrease of eBC below 1 μg m−3 at the road site for the entire day. Compared to the day before and after, particle number concentrations decreased by a factor between 5 and 25 over the particle size range from 10 to 800 nm, while the submicrometer particle mass concentration dropped by approximately 80%. These results indicate that traffic is the dominating source of BC and particulate air pollution in the metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto. In general, the diurnal cycle of eBC mass concentration at the Chacaltaya observatory is anti-correlated to the observations at the El Alto background site. This pattern indicates that the traffic-related particulate matter, including BC, is transported to higher altitudes with the developing of the boundary layer during daytime. The metropolitan area of La Paz/El Alto seems to be a significant source for BC of the regional lower free troposphere. From there, BC can be transported over long distances and exert impact on climate and composition of remote southern hemisphere.