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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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    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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    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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    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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    Influence of cloud processing on CCN activation behaviour in the Thuringian Forest, Germany during HCCT-2010
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Henning, S.; Dieckmann, K.; Ignatius, K.; Schäfer, M.; Zedler, P.; Harris, E.; Sinha, B.; van Pinxteren, D.; Mertes, S.; Birmili, W.; Merkel, M.; Wu, Z.; Wiedensohler, A.; Wex, H.; Herrmann, H.; Stratmann, F.
    Within the framework of the "Hill Cap Cloud Thuringia 2010" (HCCT-2010) international cloud experiment, the influence of cloud processing on the activation properties of ambient aerosol particles was investigated. Particles were probed upwind and downwind of an orographic cap cloud on Mt Schmücke, which is part of a large mountain ridge in Thuringia, Germany. The activation properties of the particles were investigated by means of size-segregated cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) measurements at 3 to 4 different supersaturations. The observed CCN spectra together with the total particle spectra were used to calculate the hygroscopicity parameter κ for the upwind and downwind stations. The upwind and downwind critical diameters and κ values were then compared for defined cloud events (FCE) and non-cloud events (NCE). Cloud processing was found to increase the hygroscopicity of the aerosol particles significantly, with an average increase in κ of 50%. Mass spectrometry analysis and isotopic analysis of the particles suggest that the observed increase in the hygroscopicity of the cloud-processed particles is due to an enrichment of sulfate and possibly also nitrate in the particle phase.
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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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    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.