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A phenomenology of new particle formation (NPF) at 13 European sites

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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Cloud condensation nuclei spectra derived from size distributions and hygroscopic properties of the aerosol in coastal south-west Portugal during ACE-2

2016, Dusek, Ulrike, Covert, David S., Wiedensohler, Alfred, Neusüss, Christian, Weise, Diana, Cantrell, Will

In this work we propose and test a method to calculate cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) spectra basedon aerosol number size distributions and hygroscopic growth factors. Sensitivity studies show thatthis method can be used in a wide variety of conditions except when the aerosol consist mainly oforganic compounds. One crucial step in the calculations, estimating soluble ions in an aerosol particlebased on hygroscopic growth factors, is tested in an internal hygroscopic consistency study. The resultsshow that during the second Aerosol Characterization Experiment (ACE-2) the number concentrationof inorganic ions analyzed in impactor samples could be reproduced from measured growth factorswithin the measurement uncertainties at the measurement site in Sagres, Portugal. CCN spectra were calculated based on data from the ACE-2 field experiment at the Sagres site.The calculations overestimate measured CCN spectra on average by approximately 30%, which iscomparable to the uncertainties in measurements and calculations at supersaturations below 0.5%. Thecalculated CCN spectra were averaged over time periods when Sagres received clean air masses and airmasses influenced by aged and recent pollution. Pollution outbreaks enhance the CCN concentrationsat supersaturations near 0.2% by a factor of 3 (aged pollution) to 5 (recent pollution) compared to theclean marine background concentrations. In polluted air masses, the shape of the CCN spectra changes.The clean spectra can be approximated by a power function, whereas the polluted spectra are betterapproximated by an error function.

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A full year of aerosol size distribution data from the central Arctic under an extreme positive Arctic Oscillation: insights from the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition

2023, Boyer, Matthew, Aliaga, Diego, Pernov, Jakob Boyd, Angot, Hélène, Quéléver, Lauriane L. J., Dada, Lubna, Heutte, Benjamin, Dall'Osto, Manuel, Beddows, David C. S., Brasseur, Zoé, Beck, Ivo, Bucci, Silvia, Duetsch, Marina, Stohl, Andreas, Laurila, Tiia, Asmi, Eija, Massling, Andreas, Thomas, Daniel Charles, Nøjgaard, Jakob Klenø, Chan, Tak, Sharma, Sangeeta, Tunved, Peter, Krejci, Radovan, Hansson, Hans Christen, Bianchi, Federico, Lehtipalo, Katrianne, Wiedensohler, Alfred, Weinhold, Kay, Kulmala, Markku, Petäjä, Tuukka, Sipilä, Mikko, Schmale, Julia, Jokinen, Tuija

The Arctic environment is rapidly changing due to accelerated warming in the region. The warming trend is driving a decline in sea ice extent, which thereby enhances feedback loops in the surface energy budget in the Arctic. Arctic aerosols play an important role in the radiative balance and hence the climate response in the region, yet direct observations of aerosols over the Arctic Ocean are limited. In this study, we investigate the annual cycle in the aerosol particle number size distribution (PNSD), particle number concentration (PNC), and black carbon (BC) mass concentration in the central Arctic during the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition. This is the first continuous, year-long data set of aerosol PNSD ever collected over the sea ice in the central Arctic Ocean. We use a k-means cluster analysis, FLEXPART simulations, and inverse modeling to evaluate seasonal patterns and the influence of different source regions on the Arctic aerosol population. Furthermore, we compare the aerosol observations to land-based sites across the Arctic, using both long-term measurements and observations during the year of the MOSAiC expedition (2019-2020), to investigate interannual variability and to give context to the aerosol characteristics from within the central Arctic. Our analysis identifies that, overall, the central Arctic exhibits typical seasonal patterns of aerosols, including anthropogenic influence from Arctic haze in winter and secondary aerosol processes in summer. The seasonal pattern corresponds to the global radiation, surface air temperature, and timing of sea ice melting/freezing, which drive changes in transport patterns and secondary aerosol processes. In winter, the Norilsk region in Russia/Siberia was the dominant source of Arctic haze signals in the PNSD and BC observations, which contributed to higher accumulation-mode PNC and BC mass concentrations in the central Arctic than at land-based observatories. We also show that the wintertime Arctic Oscillation (AO) phenomenon, which was reported to achieve a record-breaking positive phase during January-March 2020, explains the unusual timing and magnitude of Arctic haze across the Arctic region compared to longer-term observations. In summer, the aerosol PNCs of the nucleation and Aitken modes are enhanced; however, concentrations were notably lower in the central Arctic over the ice pack than at land-based sites further south. The analysis presented herein provides a current snapshot of Arctic aerosol processes in an environment that is characterized by rapid changes, which will be crucial for improving climate model predictions, understanding linkages between different environmental processes, and investigating the impacts of climate change in future Arctic aerosol studies.

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Properties of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in the trade wind marine boundary layer of the western North Atlantic

2016, Kristensen, Thomas B., Müller, Thomas, Kandler, Konrad, Benker, Nathalie, Hartmann, Markus, Prospero, Joseph M., Wiedensohler, Alfred, Stratmann, Frank

Cloud optical properties in the trade winds over the eastern Caribbean Sea have been shown to be sensitive to cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentrations. The objective of the current study was to investigate the CCN properties in the marine boundary layer (MBL) in the tropical western North Atlantic, in order to assess the respective roles of inorganic sulfate, organic species, long-range transported mineral dust and sea-salt particles. Measurements were carried out in June–July 2013, on the east coast of Barbados, and included CCN number concentrations, particle number size distributions and offline analysis of sampled particulate matter (PM) and sampled accumulation mode particles for an investigation of composition and mixing state with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in combination with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). During most of the campaign, significant mass concentrations of long-range transported mineral dust was present in the PM, and influence from local island sources can be ruled out. The CCN and particle number concentrations were similar to what can be expected in pristine marine environments. The hygroscopicity parameter κ was inferred, and values in the range 0.2–0.5 were found during most of the campaign, with similar values for the Aitken and the accumulation mode. The accumulation mode particles studied with TEM were dominated by non-refractory material, and concentrations of mineral dust, sea salt and soot were too small to influence the CCN properties. It is highly likely that the CCN were dominated by a mixture of sulfate species and organic compounds.

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Comparison of particle number size distribution trends in ground measurements and climate models

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.

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Impact of water uptake and mixing state on submicron particle deposition in the human respiratory tract (HRT) based on explicit hygroscopicity measurements at HRT-like conditions

2022, Man, Ruiqi, Wu, Zhijun, Zong, Taomou, Voliotis, Aristeidis, Qiu, Yanting, Größ, Johannes, van Pinxteren, Dominik, Zeng, Limin, Herrmann, Hartmut, Wiedensohler, Alfred, Hu, Min

Particle hygroscopicity plays a key role in determining the particle deposition in the human respiratory tract (HRT). In this study, the effects of hygroscopicity and mixing state on regional and total deposition doses on the basis of the particle number concentration for children, adults, and the elderly were quantified using the Multiple-Path Particle Dosimetry model, based on the size-resolved particle hygroscopicity measurements at HRT-like conditions (relative humidity = 98 %) performed in the North China Plain. The measured particle population with an external mixing state was dominated by hygroscopic particles (number fraction = (91.5 ± 5.7) %, mean ± standard deviation (SD); the same below). Particle hygroscopic growth in the HRT led to a reduction by around 24 % in the total doses of submicron particles for all age groups. Such a reduction was mainly caused by the growth of hygroscopic particles and was more pronounced in the pulmonary and tracheobronchial regions. Regardless of hygroscopicity, the elderly group of people had the highest total dose among three age groups, while children received the maximum total deposition rate. With 270 nm in diameter as the boundary, the total deposition doses of particles smaller than this diameter were overestimated, and those of larger particles were underestimated, assuming no particle hygroscopic growth in the HRT. From the perspective of the daily variation, the deposition rates of hygroscopic particles with an average of (2.88 ± 0.81) × 109 particles h-1 during the daytime were larger than those at night ((2.32 ± 0.24) × 109 particles h-1). On the contrary, hydrophobic particles interpreted as freshly emitted soot and primary organic aerosols exhibited higher deposition rates at nighttime ((3.39 ± 1.34) × 108 particles h-1) than those in the day ((2.58 ± 0.76) × 108 particles h-1). The traffic emissions during the rush hours enhanced the deposition rate of hydrophobic particles. This work provides a more explicit assessment of the impact of hygroscopicity and mixing state on the deposition pattern of submicron particles in the HRT. Copyright:

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In situ aerosol characterization at Cape Verde, Part 1: Particle number size distributions, hygroscopic growth and state of mixing of the marine and Saharan dust aerosol

2017, Schladitz, Alexander, Müller, Thomas, Nowak, Andreas, Kandler, Konrad, Lieke, Kirsten, Massling, Andreas, Wiedensohler, Alfred

Particle number size distributions and hygroscopic properties of marine and Saharan dust aerosol were investigated during the SAMUM-2 field study at Cape Verde in winter 2008. Aitken and accumulation mode particles were mainly assigned to the marine aerosol, whereas coarse mode particles were composed of sea-salt and a variable fraction of Saharan mineral dust. A new methodical approach was used to derive hygroscopic growth and state of mixing for a particle size range (volume equivalent) from dpve = 26 nm to 10 μm. For hygroscopic particles with dpve < 100 nm, the median hygroscopicity parameter κ is 0.35. From 100 nm < dpve < 350 nm, κ increases to 0.65. For larger particles, κ at dpve = 350 nm was used. For nearly hydrophobic particles, κ is between 0 and 0.1 for dpve < 250 nm and decreases to 0 for dpve > 250 nm. The mixing state of Saharan dust in terms of the number fraction of nearly hydrophobic particles showed the highest variation and ranges from 0.3 to almost 1. This study was used to perform a successful mass closure at ambient conditions and demonstrates the important role of hygroscopic growth of large sea-salt particles.

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An optical particle size spectrometer for aircraft-borne measurements in IAGOS-CARIBIC

2016, Hermann, Markus, Weigelt, Andreas, Assmann, Denise, Pfeifer, Sascha, Müller, Thomas, Conrath, Thomas, Voigtländer, Jens, Heintzenberg, Jost, Wiedensohler, Alfred, Martinsson, Bengt G., Deshler, Terry, Brenninkmeijer, Carl A.M., Zahn, Andreas

The particle number size distribution is an important parameter to characterize the atmospheric aerosol and its influence on the Earth's climate. Here we describe a new optical particle size spectrometer (OPSS) for measurements of the accumulation mode particle number size distribution in the tropopause region on board a passenger aircraft (IAGOS-CARIBIC observatory: In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System – Civil Aircraft for Regular Investigation of the Atmosphere Based on an Instrument Container). A modified KS93 particle sensor from RION Co., Ltd., together with a new airflow system and a dedicated data acquisition system, is the key component of the CARIBIC OPSS. The instrument records individual particle pulse signal curves in the particle size range 130–1110 nm diameter (for a particle refractive index of 1.47-i0.006) together with a time stamp and thus allows the post-flight choice of the time resolution and the size distribution bin width. The CARIBIC OPSS has a 50 % particle detection diameter of 152 nm and a maximum asymptotic counting efficiency of 98 %. The instrument's measurement performance shows no pressure dependency and no particle coincidence for free tropospheric conditions. The size response function of the CARIBIC OPSS was obtained by a polystyrene latex calibration in combination with model calculations. Particle number size distributions measured with the new OPSS in the lowermost stratosphere agreed within a factor of 2 in concentration with balloon-borne measurements over western North America. Since June 2010 the CARIBIC OPSS is deployed once per month in the IAGOS-CARIBIC observatory.

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Variation of CCN activity during new particle formation events in the North China Plain

2016, Ma, Nan, Zhao, Chunsheng, Tao, Jiangchuan, Wu, Zhijun, Kecorius, Simonas, Wang, Zhibin, Größ, Johannes, Liu, Hongjian, Bian, Yuxuan, Kuang, Ye, Teich, Monique, Spindler, Gerald, Müller, Konrad, van Pinxteren, Dominik, Herrmann, Hartmut, Hu, Min, Wiedensohler, Alfred

The aim of this investigation was to obtain a better understanding of the variability of the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity during new particle formation (NPF) events in an anthropogenically polluted atmosphere of the North China Plain (NCP). We investigated the size-resolved activation ratio as well as particle number size distribution, hygroscopicity, and volatility during a 4-week intensive field experiment in summertime at a regional atmospheric observatory in Xianghe. Interestingly, based on a case study, two types of NPF events were found, in which the newly formed particles exhibited either a higher or a lower hygroscopicity. Therefore, the CCN activity of newly formed particles in different NPF events was largely different, indicating that a simple parameterization of particle CCN activity during NPF events over the NCP might lead to poor estimates of CCN number concentration (NCCN). For a more accurate estimation of the potential NCCN during NPF events, the variation of CCN activity has to be taken into account. Considering that a fixed activation ratio curve or critical diameter are usually used to calculate NCCN, the influence of the variation of particle CCN activity on the calculation of NCCN during NPF events was evaluated based on the two parameterizations. It was found that NCCN might be underestimated by up to 30 % if a single activation ratio curve (representative of the region and season) were to be used in the calculation; and might be underestimated by up to 50 % if a fixed critical diameter (representative of the region and season) were used. Therefore, we suggest not using a fixed critical diameter in the prediction of NCCN in NPF. If real-time CCN activity data are not available, using a proper fixed activation ratio curve can be an alternative but compromised choice.

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Evaluation of the size segregation of elemental carbon (EC) emission in Europe: Influence on the simulation of EC long-range transportation

2016, Chen, Ying, Cheng, Ya-Fang, Nordmann, Stephan, Birmili, Wolfram, van der Gon, Hugo A.C. Denier, Ma, Nan, Wolke, Ralf, Wehner, Birgit, Sun, Jia, Spindler, Gerald, Mu, Qing, Pöschl, Ulrich, Su, Hang, Wiedensohler, Alfred

Elemental Carbon (EC) has a significant impact on human health and climate change. In order to evaluate the size segregation of EC emission in the EUCAARI inventory and investigate its influence on the simulation of EC long-range transportation in Europe, we used the fully coupled online Weather Research and Forecasting/Chemistry model (WRF-Chem) at a resolution of 2 km focusing on a region in Germany, in conjunction with a high-resolution EC emission inventory. The ground meteorology conditions, vertical structure and wind pattern were well reproduced by the model. The simulations of particle number and/or mass size distributions were evaluated with observations at the central European background site Melpitz. The fine mode particle concentration was reasonably well simulated, but the coarse mode was substantially overestimated by the model mainly due to the plume with high EC concentration in coarse mode emitted by a nearby point source. The comparisons between simulated EC and Multi-angle Absorption Photometers (MAAP) measurements at Melpitz, Leipzig-TROPOS and Bösel indicated that the coarse mode EC (ECc) emitted from the nearby point sources might be overestimated by a factor of 2–10. The fraction of ECc was overestimated in the emission inventory by about 10–30 % for Russia and 5–10 % for Eastern Europe (e.g., Poland and Belarus). This incorrect size-dependent EC emission results in a shorter atmospheric life time of EC particles and inhibits the long-range transport of EC. A case study showed that this effect caused an underestimation of 20–40 % in the EC mass concentration in Germany under eastern wind pattern.