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Now showing 1 - 10 of 67
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    The impact of biomass burning and aqueous-phase processing on air quality: A multi-year source apportionment study in the Po Valley, Italy
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2020) Paglione, Marco; Gilardoni, Stefania; Rinaldi, Matteo; Decesari, Stefano; Zanca, Nicola; Sandrini, Silvia; Giulianelli, Lara; Bacco, Dimitri; Ferrari, Silvia; Poluzzi, Vanes; Scotto, Fabiana; Trentini, Arianna; Poulain, Laurent; Herrmann, Hartmut; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Canonaco, Francesco; Prévôt, André S.H.; Massoli, Paola; Carbone, Claudio; Facchini, Maria Cristina; Fuzzi, Sandro
    The Po Valley (Italy) is a well-known air quality hotspot characterized by particulate matter (PM) levels well above the limit set by the European Air Quality Directive and by the World Health Organization, especially during the colder season. In the framework of Emilia-Romagna regional project "Supersito", the southern Po Valley submicron aerosol chemical composition was characterized by means of high-resolution aerosol mass spectroscopy (HR-AMS) with the specific aim of organic aerosol (OA) characterization and source apportionment. Eight intensive observation periods (IOPs) were carried out over 4 years (from 2011 to 2014) at two different sites (Bologna, BO, urban background, and San Pietro Capofiume, SPC, rural background), to characterize the spatial variability and seasonality of the OA sources, with a special focus on the cold season. On the multi-year basis of the study, the AMS observations show that OA accounts for averages of 45 ± 8 % (ranging from 33 % to 58 %) and 46 ± 7 % (ranging from 36 % to 50 %) of the total non-refractory submicron particle mass (PM1-NR) at the urban and rural sites, respectively. Primary organic aerosol (POA) comprises biomass burning (23±13 % of OA) and fossil fuel (12±7 %) contributions with a marked seasonality in concentration. As expected, the biomass burning contribution to POA is more significant at the rural site (urban / rural concentration ratio of 0.67), but it is also an important source of POA at the urban site during the cold season, with contributions ranging from 14 % to 38 % of the total OA mass. Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) contributes to OA mass to a much larger extent than POA at both sites throughout the year (69 ± 16 % and 83 ± 16 % at the urban and rural sites, respectively), with important implications for public health. Within the secondary fraction of OA, the measurements highlight the importance of biomass burning aging products during the cold season, even at the urban background site. This biomass burning SOA fraction represents 14 %-44 % of the total OA mass in the cold season, indicating that in this region a major contribution of combustion sources to PM mass is mediated by environmental conditions and atmospheric reactivity. © 2020 Author(s).
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    A phenomenology of new particle formation (NPF) at 13 European sites
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : European Geosciences Union, 2021) Bousiotis, Dimitrios; Pope, Francis D.; Beddows, David C. S.; Dall'Osto, Manuel; Massling, Andreas; Nøjgaard, Jakob Klenø; Nordstrøm, Claus; Niemi, Jarkko V.; Portin, Harri; Petäjä, Tuukka; Perez, Noemi; Alastuey, Andrés; Querol, Xavier; Kouvarakis, Giorgos; Mihalopoulos, Nikos; Vratolis, Stergios; Eleftheriadis, Konstantinos; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Weinhold, Kay; Merkel, Maik; Tuch, Thomas; Harrison, Roy M.
    New particle formation (NPF) events occur almost everywhere in the world and can play an important role as a particle source. The frequency and characteristics of NPF events vary spatially, and this variability is yet to be fully understood. In the present study, long-term particle size distribution datasets (minimum of 3 years) from 13 sites of various land uses and climates from across Europe were studied, and NPF events, deriving from secondary formation and not traffic-related nucleation, were extracted and analysed. The frequency of NPF events was consistently found to be higher at rural background sites, while the growth and formation rates of newly formed particles were higher at roadsides (though in many cases differences between the sites were small), underlining the importance of the abundance of condensable compounds of anthropogenic origin found there. The growth rate was higher in summer at all rural background sites studied. The urban background sites presented the highest uncertainty due to greater variability compared to the other two types of site. The origin of incoming air masses and the specific conditions associated with them greatly affect the characteristics of NPF events. In general, cleaner air masses present higher probability for NPF events, while the more polluted ones show higher growth rates. However, different patterns of NPF events were found, even at sites in close proximity (<ĝ€¯200ĝ€¯km), due to the different local conditions at each site. Region-wide events were also studied and were found to be associated with the same conditions as local events, although some variability was found which was associated with the different seasonality of the events at two neighbouring sites. NPF events were responsible for an increase in the number concentration of ultrafine particles of more than 400ĝ€¯% at rural background sites on the day of their occurrence. The degree of enhancement was less at urban sites due to the increased contribution of other sources within the urban environment. It is evident that, while some variables (such as solar radiation intensity, relative humidity, or the concentrations of specific pollutants) appear to have a similar influence on NPF events across all sites, it is impossible to predict the characteristics of NPF events at a site using just these variables, due to the crucial role of local conditions. © Author(s) 2021.
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    Status and future of numerical atmospheric aerosol prediction with a focus on data requirements
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2018) Benedetti, Angela; Reid, Jeffrey S.; Knippertz, Peter; Marsham, John H.; Di Giuseppe, Francesca; Rémy, Samuel; Basart, Sara; Boucher, Olivier; Brooks, Ian M.; Menut, Laurent; Mona, Lucia; Laj, Paolo; Pappalardo, Gelsomina; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Baklanov, Alexander; Brooks, Malcolm; Colarco, Peter R.; Cuevas, Emilio; da Silva, Arlindo; Escribano, Jeronimo; Flemming, Johannes; Huneeus, Nicolas; Jorba, Oriol; Kazadzis, Stelios; Kinne, Stefan; Popp, Thomas; Quinn, Patricia K.; Sekiyama, Thomas T.; Tanaka, Taichu; Terradellas, Enric
    Numerical prediction of aerosol particle properties has become an important activity at many research and operational weather centers. This development is due to growing interest from a diverse set of stakeholders, such as air quality regulatory bodies, aviation and military authorities, solar energy plant managers, climate services providers, and health professionals. Owing to the complexity of atmospheric aerosol processes and their sensitivity to the underlying meteorological conditions, the prediction of aerosol particle concentrations and properties in the numerical weather prediction (NWP) framework faces a number of challenges. The modeling of numerous aerosol-related parameters increases computational expense. Errors in aerosol prediction concern all processes involved in the aerosol life cycle including (a) errors on the source terms (for both anthropogenic and natural emissions), (b) errors directly dependent on the meteorology (e.g., mixing, transport, scavenging by precipitation), and (c) errors related to aerosol chemistry (e.g., nucleation, gas-aerosol partitioning, chemical transformation and growth, hygroscopicity). Finally, there are fundamental uncertainties and significant processing overhead in the diverse observations used for verification and assimilation within these systems. Indeed, a significant component of aerosol forecast development consists in streamlining aerosol-related observations and reducing the most important errors through model development and data assimilation. Aerosol particle observations from satellite- and ground-based platforms have been crucial to guide model development of the recent years and have been made more readily available for model evaluation and assimilation. However, for the sustainability of the aerosol particle prediction activities around the globe, it is crucial that quality aerosol observations continue to be made available from different platforms (space, near surface, and aircraft) and freely shared. This paper reviews current requirements for aerosol observations in the context of the operational activities carried out at various global and regional centers. While some of the requirements are equally applicable to aerosol-climate, the focus here is on global operational prediction of aerosol properties such as mass concentrations and optical parameters. It is also recognized that the term "requirements" is loosely used here given the diversity in global aerosol observing systems and that utilized data are typically not from operational sources. Most operational models are based on bulk schemes that do not predict the size distribution of the aerosol particles. Others are based on a mix of "bin" and bulk schemes with limited capability of simulating the size information. However the next generation of aerosol operational models will output both mass and number density concentration to provide a more complete description of the aerosol population. A brief overview of the state of the art is provided with an introduction on the importance of aerosol prediction activities. The criteria on which the requirements for aerosol observations are based are also outlined. Assimilation and evaluation aspects are discussed from the perspective of the user requirements.
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    A parameterization of the heterogeneous hydrolysis of N2O5 for mass-based aerosol models: Improvement of particulate nitrate prediction
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2018) Chen, Ying; Wolke, Ralf; Ran, Liang; Birmili, Wolfram; Spindler, Gerald; Schröder, Wolfram; Su, Hang; Cheng, Yafang; Tegen, Ina; Wiedensohler, Alfred
    The heterogeneous hydrolysis of N2O5 on the surface of deliquescent aerosol leads to HNO3 formation and acts as a major sink of NOx in the atmosphere during night-time. The reaction constant of this heterogeneous hydrolysis is determined by temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), aerosol particle composition, and the surface area concentration (S). However, these parameters were not comprehensively considered in the parameterization of the heterogeneous hydrolysis of N2O5 in previous mass-based 3-D aerosol modelling studies. In this investigation, we propose a sophisticated parameterization (NewN2O5) of N2O5 heterogeneous hydrolysis with respect to T, RH, aerosol particle compositions, and S based on laboratory experiments. We evaluated closure between NewN2O5 and a state-of-the-art parameterization based on a sectional aerosol treatment. The comparison showed a good linear relationship (R Combining double low line 0.91) between these two parameterizations. NewN2O5 was incorporated into a 3-D fully online coupled model, COSMO-Muscat, with the mass-based aerosol treatment. As a case study, we used the data from the HOPE Melpitz campaign (10-25 September 2013) to validate model performance. Here, we investigated the improvement of nitrate prediction over western and central Europe. The modelled particulate nitrate mass concentrations ([NO3-]) were validated by filter measurements over Germany (Neuglobsow, Schmücke, Zingst, and Melpitz). The modelled [NO3-] was significantly overestimated for this period by a factor of 5-19, with the corrected NH3 emissions (reduced by 50 %) and the original parameterization of N2O5 heterogeneous hydrolysis. The NewN2O5 significantly reduces the overestimation of [NO3-] by ∼ 35 %. Particularly, the overestimation factor was reduced to approximately 1.4 in our case study (12, 17-18 and 25 September 2013) when [NO3-] was dominated by local chemical formations. In our case, the suppression of organic coating was negligible over western and central Europe, with an influence on [NO3-] of less than 2 % on average and 20 % at the most significant moment. To obtain a significant impact of the organic coating effect, N2O5, SOA, and NH3 need to be present when RH is high and T is low. However, those conditions were rarely fulfilled simultaneously over western and central Europe. Hence, the organic coating effect on the reaction probability of N2O5 may not be as significant as expected over western and central Europe.
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    Optical properties of coated black carbon aggregates: numerical simulations, radiative forcing estimates, and size-resolved parameterization scheme
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : European Geosciences Union, 2021) Romshoo, Baseerat; Müller, Thomas; Pfeifer, Sascha; Saturno, Jorge; Nowak, Andreas; Ciupek, Krzysztof; Quincey, Paul; Wiedensohler, Alfred
    The formation of black carbon fractal aggregates (BCFAs) from combustion and subsequent ageing involves several stages resulting in modifications of particle size, morphology, and composition over time. To understand and quantify how each of these modifications influences the BC radiative forcing, the optical properties of BCFAs are modelled. Owing to the high computational time involved in numerical modelling, there are some gaps in terms of data coverage and knowledge regarding how optical properties of coated BCFAs vary over the range of different factors (size, shape, and composition). This investigation bridged those gaps by following a state-of-the-art description scheme of BCFAs based on morphology, composition, and wavelength. The BCFA optical properties were investigated as a function of the radius of the primary particle (ao), fractal dimension (Df), fraction of organics (forganics), wavelength (λ), and mobility diameter (Dmob). The optical properties are calculated using the multiple-sphere T-matrix (MSTM) method. For the first time, the modelled optical properties of BC are expressed in terms of mobility diameter (Dmob), making the results more relevant and relatable for ambient and laboratory BC studies. Amongst size, morphology, and composition, all the optical properties showed the highest variability with changing size. The cross sections varied from 0.0001 to 0.1 μm2 for BCFA Dmob ranging from 24 to 810nm. It has been shown that MACBC and single-scattering albedo (SSA) are sensitive to morphology, especially for larger particles with Dmobg > 100 nm. Therefore, while using the simplified core-shell representation of BC in global models, the influence of morphology on radiative forcing estimations might not be adequately considered. The Ångström absorption exponent (AAE) varied from 1.06 up to 3.6 and increased with the fraction of organics (forganics). Measurement results of AAE ≫1 are often misinterpreted as biomass burning aerosol, it was observed that the AAE of purely black carbon particles can be ≫1 in the case of larger BC particles. The values of the absorption enhancement factor (Eλ) via coating were found to be between 1.01 and 3.28 in the visible spectrum. The Eλ was derived from Mie calculations for coated volume equivalent spheres and from MSTM for coated BCFAs. Mie-calculated enhancement factors were found to be larger by a factor of 1.1 to 1.5 than their corresponding values calculated from the MSTM method. It is shown that radiative forcings are highly sensitive to modifications in morphology and composition. The black carbon radiative forcing FTOA (Wgm-2) decreases up to 61% as the BCFA becomes more compact, indicating that global model calculations should account for changes in morphology. A decrease of more than 50% in FTOA was observed as the organic content of the particle increased up to 90%. The changes in the ageing factors (composition and morphology) in tandem result in an overall decrease in the FTOA. A parameterization scheme for optical properties of BC fractal aggregates was developed, which is applicable for modelling, ambient, and laboratory-based BC studies. The parameterization scheme for the cross sections (extinction, absorption, and scattering), single-scattering albedo (SSA), and asymmetry parameter (g) of pure and coated BCFAs as a function of Dmob were derived from tabulated results of the MSTM method. Spanning an extensive parameter space, the developed parameterization scheme showed promisingly high accuracy up to 98% for the cross sections, 97% for single-scattering albedos (SSAs), and 82% for the asymmetry parameter (g). © 2021 The Author(s).
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    Heterogeneous N2O5 uptake coefficient and production yield of ClNO2 in polluted northern China: Roles of aerosol water content and chemical composition
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2018) Tham, Yee Jun; Wang, Zhe; Li, Qinyi; Wang, Weihao; Wang, Xinfeng; Lu, Keding; Ma, Nan; Yan, Chao; Kecorius, Simonas; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Zhang, Yuanhang; Wang, Tao
    Heterogeneous uptake of dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5) and production of nitryl chloride (ClNO2) are important nocturnal atmospheric processes that have significant implications for the production of secondary pollutants. However, the understanding of N2O5 uptake processes and ClNO2 production remains limited, especially in China. This study presents a field investigation of the N2O5 heterogeneous uptake coefficient (γ(N2O5)) and ClNO2 production yield (ϕ) in a polluted area of northern China during the summer of 2014. The N2O5 uptake coefficient and ClNO2 yield were estimated by using the simultaneously measured ClNO2 and total nitrate in 10 selected cases, which have concurrent increases in the ClNO2 and nitrate concentrations and relatively stable environmental conditions. The determined γ(N2O5) and ϕ values varied greatly, with an average of 0.022 for γ(N2O5) (±0.012, standard deviation) and 0.34 for ϕ (±0.28, standard deviation). The variations in γ(N2O5) could not be fully explained by the previously derived parameterizations of N2O5 uptake that consider nitrate, chloride, and the organic coating. Heterogeneous uptake of N2O5 was found to have a strong positive dependence on the relative humidity and aerosol water content. This result suggests that the heterogeneous uptake of N2O5 in Wangdu is governed mainly by the amount of water in the aerosol, and is strongly water limited, which is different from most of the field observations in the US and Europe. The ClNO2 yield estimated from the parameterization was also overestimated comparing to that derived from the observation. The observation-derived ϕ showed a decreasing trend with an increasing ratio of acetonitrile to carbon monoxide, an indicator of biomass burning emissions, which suggests a possible suppressive effect on the production yield of ClNO2 in the plumes influenced by biomass burning in this region. The findings of this study illustrate the need to improve our understanding and to parameterize the key factors for γ(N2O5) and ϕ to accurately assess photochemical and haze pollution.
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    Preventing airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals and nursing homes
    (Basel : MDPI AG, 2020) Ahlawat, Ajit; Mishra, Sumit Kumar; Birks, John W.; Costabile, Francesca; Wiedensohler, Alfred
    [No abstract available]
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    Vertical distribution of aerosol optical properties in the Po Valley during the 2012 summer campaigns
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2018) Bucci, Silvia; Cristofanelli, Paolo; Decesari, Stefano; Marinoni, Angela; Sandrini, Silvia; Größ, Johannes; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Di Marco, Chiara F.; Nemitz, Eiko; Cairo, Francesco; Di Liberto, Luca; Fierli, Federico
    Studying the vertical distribution of aerosol particle physical and chemical properties in the troposphere is essential to understand the relative importance of local emission processes vs. long-range transport for column-integrated aerosol properties (e.g. the aerosol optical depth, AOD, affecting regional climate) as well as for the aerosol burden and its impacts on air quality at the ground. The main objective of this paper is to investigate the transport of desert dust in the middle troposphere and its intrusion into the planetary boundary layer (PBL) over the Po Valley (Italy), a region considered one of the greatest European pollution hotspots for the frequency that particulate matter (PM) limit values are exceeded. Events of mineral aerosol uplift from local (soil) sources and phenomena of hygroscopic growth at the ground are also investigated, possibly affecting the PM concentration in the region as well. During the PEGASOS 2012 field campaign, an integrated observing-modelling system was set up based on near-surface measurements (particle concentration and chemistry), vertical profiling (backscatter coefficient profiles from lidar and radiosoundings) and Lagrangian air mass transport simulations by FLEXPART model. Measurements were taken at the San Pietro Capofiume supersite (44°39′ĝ€N, 11°37′ĝ€E; 11ĝ€mĝ€a.s.l.), located in a rural area relatively close to some major urban and industrial emissive areas in the Po Valley. Mt. Cimone (44°12′ĝ€N, 10°42′ĝ€E; 2165ĝ€mĝ€a.s.l.) WMO/GAW station observations are also included in the study to characterize regional-scale variability. Results show that, in the Po Valley, aerosol is detected mainly below 2000ĝ€mĝ€a.s.l. with a prevalent occurrence of non-depolarizing particles ( > 50ĝ€% throughout the campaign) and a vertical distribution modulated by the PBL daily evolution. Two intense events of mineral dust transport from northern Africa (19-21 and 29 June to 2 July) are observed, with layers advected mainly above 2000ĝ€m, but subsequently sinking and mixing in the PBL. As a consequence, a non-negligible occurrence of mineral dust is observed close to the ground ( ĝ1/4 7ĝ€% of occurrence during a 1-month campaign). The observations unambiguously show Saharan dust layers intruding the Po Valley mixing layer and directly affecting the aerosol concentrations near the surface. Finally, lidar observations also indicate strong variability in aerosol on shorter timescales (hourly). Firstly, these highlight events of hygroscopic growth of anthropogenic aerosol, visible as shallow layers of low depolarization near the ground. Such events are identified during early morning hours at high relative humidity (RH) conditions (RHĝ€ > 80ĝ€%). The process is observed concurrently with high PM1 nitrate concentration (up to 15ĝ€μgĝ€cmĝ'3) and hence mainly explicable by deliquescence of fine anthropogenic particles, and during mineral dust intrusion episodes, when water condensation on dust particles could instead represent the dominant contribution. Secondly, lidar images show frequent events (mean daily occurrence of ĝ1/4 ĝ€22ĝ€% during the whole campaign) of rapid uplift of mineral depolarizing particles in afternoon-evening hours up to 2000ĝ€mĝ€a.s.l. height. The origin of such particles cannot be directly related to long-range transport events, being instead likely linked to processes of soil particle resuspension from agricultural lands.
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    Phenomenology of ultrafine particle concentrations and size distribution across urban Europe
    (Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier Science, 2023) Trechera, Pedro; Garcia-Marlès, Meritxell; Liu, Xiansheng; Reche, Cristina; Pérez, Noemí; Savadkoohi, Marjan; Beddows, David; Salma, Imre; Vörösmarty, Máté; Casans, Andrea; Casquero-Vera, Juan Andrés; Hueglin, Christoph; Marchand, Nicolas; Chazeau, Benjamin; Gille, Grégory; Kalkavouras, Panayiotis; Mihalopoulos, Nikos; Ondracek, Jakub; Zikova, Nadia; Niemi, Jarkko V.; Manninen, Hanna E.; Green, David C.; Tremper, Anja H.; Norman, Michael; Vratolis, Stergios; Eleftheriadis, Konstantinos; Gómez-Moreno, Francisco J.; Alonso-Blanco, Elisabeth; Gerwig, Holger; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Weinhold, Kay; Merkel, Maik; Bastian, Susanne; Petit, Jean-Eudes; Favez, Olivier; Crumeyrolle, Suzanne; Ferlay, Nicolas; Martins Dos Santos, Sebastiao; Putaud, Jean-Philippe; Timonen, Hilkka; Lampilahti, Janne; Asbach, Christof; Wolf, Carmen; Kaminski, Heinz; Altug, Hicran; Hoffmann, Barbara; Rich, David Q.; Pandolfi, Marco; Harrison, Roy M.; Hopke, Philip K.; Petäjä, Tuukka; Alastuey, Andrés; Querol, Xavier
    The 2017–2019 hourly particle number size distributions (PNSD) from 26 sites in Europe and 1 in the US were evaluated focusing on 16 urban background (UB) and 6 traffic (TR) sites in the framework of Research Infrastructures services reinforcing air quality monitoring capacities in European URBAN & industrial areaS (RI-URBANS) project. The main objective was to describe the phenomenology of urban ultrafine particles (UFP) in Europe with a significant air quality focus. The varying lower size detection limits made it difficult to compare PN concentrations (PNC), particularly PN10-25, from different cities. PNCs follow a TR > UB > Suburban (SUB) order. PNC and Black Carbon (BC) progressively increase from Northern Europe to Southern Europe and from Western to Eastern Europe. At the UB sites, typical traffic rush hour PNC peaks are evident, many also showing midday-morning PNC peaks anti-correlated with BC. These peaks result from increased PN10-25, suggesting significant PNC contributions from nucleation, fumigation and shipping. Site types to be identified by daily and seasonal PNC and BC patterns are: (i) PNC mainly driven by traffic emissions, with marked correlations with BC on different time scales; (ii) marked midday/morning PNC peaks and a seasonal anti-correlation with PNC/BC; (iii) both traffic peaks and midday peaks without marked seasonal patterns. Groups (ii) and (iii) included cities with high insolation. PNC, especially PN25-800, was positively correlated with BC, NO2, CO and PM for several sites. The variable correlation of PNSD with different urban pollutants demonstrates that these do not reflect the variability of UFP in urban environments. Specific monitoring of PNSD is needed if nanoparticles and their associated health impacts are to be assessed. Implementation of the CEN-ACTRIS recommendations for PNSD measurements would provide comparable measurements, and measurements of <10 nm PNC are needed for full evaluation of the health effects of this size fraction.
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    Comparison of particle number size distribution trends in ground measurements and climate models
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2022) Leinonen, Ville; Kokkola, Harri; Yli-Juuti, Taina; Mielonen, Tero; Kühn, Thomas; Nieminen, Tuomo; Heikkinen, Simo; Miinalainen, Tuuli; Bergman, Tommi; Carslaw, Ken; Decesari, Stefano; Fiebig, Markus; Hussein, Tareq; Kivekäs, Niku; Krejci, Radovan; Kulmala, Markku; Leskinen, Ari; Massling, Andreas; Mihalopoulos, Nikos; Mulcahy, Jane P.; Noe, Steffen M.; van Noije, Twan; O'Connor, Fiona M.; O'Dowd, Colin; Olivie, Dirk; Pernov, Jakob B.; Petäjä, Tuukka; Seland, Øyvind; Schulz, Michael; Scott, Catherine E.; Skov, Henrik; Swietlicki, Erik; Tuch, Thomas; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Virtanen, Annele; Mikkonen, Santtu
    Despite a large number of studies, out of all drivers of radiative forcing, the effect of aerosols has the largest uncertainty in global climate model radiative forcing estimates. There have been studies of aerosol optical properties in climate models, but the effects of particle number size distribution need a more thorough inspection. We investigated the trends and seasonality of particle number concentrations in nucleation, Aitken, and accumulation modes at 21 measurement sites in Europe and the Arctic. For 13 of those sites, with longer measurement time series, we compared the field observations with the results from five climate models, namely EC-Earth3, ECHAM-M7, ECHAM-SALSA, NorESM1.2, and UKESM1. This is the first extensive comparison of detailed aerosol size distribution trends between in situ observations from Europe and five earth system models (ESMs). We found that the trends of particle number concentrations were mostly consistent and decreasing in both measurements and models. However, for many sites, climate models showed weaker decreasing trends than the measurements. Seasonal variability in measured number concentrations, quantified by the ratio between maximum and minimum monthly number concentration, was typically stronger at northern measurement sites compared to other locations. Models had large differences in their seasonal representation, and they can be roughly divided into two categories: for EC-Earth and NorESM, the seasonal cycle was relatively similar for all sites, and for other models the pattern of seasonality varied between northern and southern sites. In addition, the variability in concentrations across sites varied between models, some having relatively similar concentrations for all sites, whereas others showed clear differences in concentrations between remote and urban sites. To conclude, although all of the model simulations had identical input data to describe anthropogenic mass emissions, trends in differently sized particles vary among the models due to assumptions in emission sizes and differences in how models treat size-dependent aerosol processes. The inter-model variability was largest in the accumulation mode, i.e. sizes which have implications for aerosol-cloud interactions. Our analysis also indicates that between models there is a large variation in efficiency of long-range transportation of aerosols to remote locations. The differences in model results are most likely due to the more complex effect of different processes instead of one specific feature (e.g. the representation of aerosol or emission size distributions). Hence, a more detailed characterization of microphysical processes and deposition processes affecting the long-range transport is needed to understand the model variability.