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    A European aerosol phenomenology-5: Climatology of black carbon optical properties at 9 regional background sites across Europe
    (Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2016) Zanatta, M.; Gysel, M.; Bukowiecki, N.; Müller, T.; Weingartner, E.; Areskoug, H.; Fiebig, M.; Yttri, K.E.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Kouvarakis, G.; Beddows, D.; Harrison, R.M.; Cavalli, F.; Putaud, J.P.; Spindler, G.; Wiedensohler, A.; Alastuey, A.; Pandolfi, M.; Sellegri, K.; Swietlicki, E.; Jaffrezo, J.L.; Baltensperger, U.; Laj, P.
    A reliable assessment of the optical properties of atmospheric black carbon is of crucial importance for an accurate estimation of radiative forcing. In this study we investigated the spatio-temporal variability of the mass absorption cross-section (MAC) of atmospheric black carbon, defined as light absorption coefficient (σap) divided by elemental carbon mass concentration (mEC). σap and mEC have been monitored at supersites of the ACTRIS network for a minimum period of one year. The 9 rural background sites considered in this study cover southern Scandinavia, central Europe and the Mediterranean. σap was determined using filter based absorption photometers and mEC using a thermal-optical technique. Homogeneity of the data-set was ensured by harmonization of all involved methods and instruments during extensive intercomparison exercises at the European Center for Aerosol Calibration (ECAC). Annual mean values of σap at a wavelength of 637 nm vary between 0.66 and 1.3 Mm−1 in southern Scandinavia, 3.7–11 Mm−1 in Central Europe and the British Isles, and 2.3–2.8 Mm−1 in the Mediterranean. Annual mean values of mEC vary between 0.084 and 0.23 μg m−3 in southern Scandinavia, 0.28–1.1 in Central Europe and the British Isles, and 0.22–0.26 in the Mediterranean. Both σap and mEC in southern Scandinavia and Central Europe have a distinct seasonality with maxima during the cold season and minima during summer, whereas at the Mediterranean sites an opposite trend was observed. Annual mean MAC values were quite similar across all sites and the seasonal variability was small at most sites. Consequently, a MAC value of 10.0 m2 g−1 (geometric standard deviation = 1.33) at a wavelength of 637 nm can be considered to be representative of the mixed boundary layer at European background sites, where BC is expected to be internally mixed to a large extent. The observed spatial variability is rather small compared to the variability of values in previous literature, indicating that the harmonization efforts resulted in substantially increased precision of the reported MAC. However, absolute uncertainties of the reported MAC values remain as high as ± 30–70% due to the lack of appropriate reference methods and calibration materials. The mass ratio between elemental carbon and non-light-absorbing matter was used as a proxy for the thickness of coatings around the BC cores, in order to assess the influence of the mixing state on the MAC of BC. Indeed, the MAC was found to increase with increasing values of the coating thickness proxy. This provides evidence that coatings do increase the MAC of atmospheric BC to some extent, which is commonly referred to as lensing effect.
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    A European aerosol phenomenology - 7: High-time resolution chemical characteristics of submicron particulate matter across Europe
    (Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2021) Bressi, M.; Cavalli, F.; Putaud, J.P.; Fröhlich, R.; Petit, J.-E.; Aas, W.; Äijälä, M.; Alastuey, A.; Allan, J.D.; Aurela, M.; Berico, M.; Bougiatioti, A.; Bukowiecki, N.; Canonaco, F.; Crenn, V.; Dusanter, S.; Ehn, M.; Elsasser, M.; Flentje, H.; Graf, P.; Green, D.C.; Heikkinen, L.; Hermann, H.; Holzinger, R.; Hueglin, C.; Keernik, H.; Kiendler-Scharr, A.; Kubelová, L.; Lunder, C.; Maasikmets, M.; Makeš, O.; Malaguti, A.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Nicolas, J.B.; O'Dowd, C.; Ovadnevaite, J.; Petralia, E.; Poulain, L.; Priestman, M.; Riffault, V.; Ripoll, A.; Schlag, P.; Schwarz, J.; Sciare, J.; Slowik, J.; Sosedova, Y.; Stavroulas, I.; Teinemaa, E.; Via, M.; Vodička, P.; Williams, P.I.; Wiedensohler, A.; Young, D.E.; Zhang, S.; Favez, O.; Minguillón, M.C.; Prevot, A.S.H.
    Similarities and differences in the submicron atmospheric aerosol chemical composition are analyzed from a unique set of measurements performed at 21 sites across Europe for at least one year. These sites are located between 35 and 62°N and 10° W – 26°E, and represent various types of settings (remote, coastal, rural, industrial, urban). Measurements were all carried out on-line with a 30-min time resolution using mass spectroscopy based instruments known as Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitors (ACSM) and Aerosol Mass Spectrometers (AMS) and following common measurement guidelines. Data regarding organics, sulfate, nitrate and ammonium concentrations, as well as the sum of them called non-refractory submicron aerosol mass concentration ([NR-PM1]) are discussed. NR-PM1 concentrations generally increase from remote to urban sites. They are mostly larger in the mid-latitude band than in southern and northern Europe. On average, organics account for the major part (36–64%) of NR-PM1 followed by sulfate (12–44%) and nitrate (6–35%). The annual mean chemical composition of NR-PM1 at rural (or regional background) sites and urban background sites are very similar. Considering rural and regional background sites only, nitrate contribution is higher and sulfate contribution is lower in mid-latitude Europe compared to northern and southern Europe. Large seasonal variations in concentrations (μg/m³) of one or more components of NR-PM1 can be observed at all sites, as well as in the chemical composition of NR-PM1 (%) at most sites. Significant diel cycles in the contribution to [NR-PM1] of organics, sulfate, and nitrate can be observed at a majority of sites both in winter and summer. Early morning minima in organics in concomitance with maxima in nitrate are common features at regional and urban background sites. Daily variations are much smaller at a number of coastal and rural sites. Looking at NR-PM1 chemical composition as a function of NR-PM1 mass concentration reveals that although organics account for the major fraction of NR-PM1 at all concentration levels at most sites, nitrate contribution generally increases with NR-PM1 mass concentration and predominates when NR-PM1 mass concentrations exceed 40 μg/m³ at half of the sites. © 2021 The Authors
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    Mixing state of atmospheric particles over the North China Plain
    (Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2015) Zhang, S.L.; Ma, N.; Kecorius, S.; Wang, P.C.; Hu, M.; Wang, Z.B.; Größ, J.; Wu, Z.J.; Wiedensohler, A.
    In this unique processing study, the mixing state of ambient submicron aerosol particles in terms of hygroscopicity and volatility was investigated with a Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer and a Volatility Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer. The measurements were conducted at a regional atmospheric observational site in the North China Plain (NCP) from 8 July to 9 August, 2013. Multimodal patterns were observed in the probability density functions of the hygroscopicity parameter κ and the shrink factor, indicating that ambient particles are mostly an external mixture of particles with different hygroscopicity and volatility. Linear relationships were found between the number fraction of hydrophobic and non-volatile populations, reflecting the dominance of soot in hydrophobic and non-volatile particles. The number fraction of non-volatile particles is lower than that of hydrophobic particles in most cases, indicating that a certain fraction of hydrophobic particles is volatile. Distinct diurnal patterns were found for the number fraction of the hydrophobic and non-volatile particles, with a higher level at nighttime and a lower level during the daytime. The result of air mass classification shows that aerosol particles in air masses coming from north with high moving speed have a high number fraction of hydrophobic/non-volatile population, and are more externally mixed. Only minor differences can be found between the measured aerosol properties for the rest of the air masses. With abundant precursor in the NCP, no matter where the air mass originates, as far as it stays in the NCP for a certain time, aerosol particles may get aged and mixed with newly emitted particles in a short time.