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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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    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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    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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    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.