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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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    On the sub-micron aerosol size distribution in a coastal-rural site at El Arenosillo Station (SW – Spain)
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Sorribas, M.; de la Morena, B.A.; Wehner, B.; López, J.F.; Prats, N.; Mogo, S.; Wiedensohler, A.; Cachorro, V.E.
    This study focuses on the analysis of the sub-micron aerosol characteristics at El Arenosillo Station, a rural and coastal environment in South-western Spain between 1 August 2004 and 31 July 2006 (594 days). The mean total concentration (NT) was 8660 cm−3 and the mean concentrations in the nucleation (NNUC), Aitken (NAIT) and accumulation (NACC) particle size ranges were 2830 cm−3, 4110 cm−3 and 1720 cm−3, respectively. Median size distribution was characterised by a single-modal fit, with a geometric diameter, median number concentration and geometric standard deviation of 60 nm, 5390 cm−3 and 2.31, respectively. Characterisation of primary emissions, secondary particle formation, changes to meteorology and long-term transport has been necessary to understand the seasonal and annual variability of the total and modal particle concentration. Number concentrations exhibited a diurnal pattern with maximum concentrations around noon. This was governed by the concentrations of the nucleation and Aitken modes during the warm seasons and only by the nucleation mode during the cold seasons. Similar monthly mean total concentrations were observed throughout the year due to a clear inverse variation between the monthly mean NNUC and NACC. It was related to the impact of desert dust and continental air masses on the monthly mean particle levels. These air masses were associated with high values of NACC which suppressed the new particle formation (decreasing NNUC). Each day was classified according to a land breeze flow or a synoptic pattern influence. The median size distribution for desert dust and continental aerosol was dominated by the Aitken and accumulation modes, and marine air masses were dominated by the nucleation and Aitken modes. Particles moved offshore due to the land breeze and had an impact on the particle burden at noon, especially when the wind was blowing from the NW sector in the morning during summer time. This increased NNUC and NAIT by factors of 3.1 and 2.4, respectively. Nucleation events with the typical "banana" shape were characterised by a mean particle nucleation rate of 0.74 cm−3 s−1, a mean growth rate of 1.96 nm h−1 and a mean total duration of 9.25 h (starting at 10:55 GMT and ending at 20:10 GMT). They were observed for 48 days. Other nucleation events were identified as those produced by the emissions from the industrial areas located at a distance of 35 km. They were observed for 42 days. Both nucleation events were strongly linked to the marine air mass origin.
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    Cloud condensation nuclei in polluted air and biomass burning smoke near the mega-city Guangzhou, China – Part 2: Size-resolved aerosol chemical composition, diurnal cycles, and externally mixed weakly CCN-active soot particles
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Rose, D.; Gunthe, S.S.; Su, H.; Garland, R.M.; Yang, H.; Berghof, M.; Cheng, Y.F.; Wehner, B.; Achtert, P.; Nowak, A.; Wiedensohler, A.; Takegawa, N.; Kondo, Y.; Hu, M.; Zhang, Y.; Andreae, M.O.; Pöschl, U.
    Size-resolved chemical composition, mixing state, and cloud condensation nucleus (CCN) activity of aerosol particles in polluted mega-city air and biomass burning smoke were measured during the PRIDE-PRD2006 campaign near Guangzhou, China, using an aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS), a volatility tandem differential mobility analyzer (VTDMA), and a continuous-flow CCN counter (DMT-CCNC). The size-dependence and temporal variations of the effective average hygroscopicity parameter for CCN-active particles (κa) could be parameterized as a function of organic and inorganic mass fractions (forg, finorg) determined by the AMS: κa,p=κorg·forg + κinorg·finorg. The characteristic κ values of organic and inorganic components were similar to those observed in other continental regions of the world: κorg≈0.1 and κinorg≈0.6. The campaign average κa values increased with particle size from ~0.25 at ~50 nm to ~0.4 at ~200 nm, while forg decreased with particle size. At ~50 nm, forg was on average 60% and increased to almost 100% during a biomass burning event. The VTDMA results and complementary aerosol optical data suggest that the large fractions of CCN-inactive particles observed at low supersaturations (up to 60% at S≤0.27%) were externally mixed weakly CCN-active soot particles with low volatility (diameter reduction <5% at 300 °C) and effective hygroscopicity parameters around κLV≈0.01. A proxy for the effective average hygroscopicity of the total ensemble of CCN-active particles including weakly CCN-active particles (κt) could be parameterized as a function of κa,p and the number fraction of low volatility particles determined by VTDMA (φLV): κt,p=κa,p−φLV·(κa,p−κLV). Based on κ values derived from AMS and VTDMA data, the observed CCN number concentrations (NCCN,S≈102–104 cm−3 at S = 0.068–0.47%) could be efficiently predicted from the measured particle number size distribution. The mean relative deviations between observed and predicted CCN concentrations were ~10% when using κt,p, and they increased to ~20% when using only κa,p. The mean relative deviations were not higher (~20%) when using an approximate continental average value of κ≈0.3, although the constant κ value cannot account for the observed temporal variations in particle composition and mixing state (diurnal cycles and biomass burning events). Overall, the results confirm that on a global and climate modeling scale an average value of κ≈0.3 can be used for approximate predictions of CCN number concentrations in continental boundary layer air when aerosol size distribution data are available without information about chemical composition. Bulk or size-resolved data on aerosol chemical composition enable improved CCN predictions resolving regional and temporal variations, but the composition data need to be highly accurate and complemented by information about particle mixing state to achieve high precision (relative deviations <20%).
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    Changes in the production rate of secondary aerosol particles in Central Europe in view of decreasing SO2 emissions between 1996 and 2006
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2010) Hamed, A.; Birmili, W.; Joutsensaari, J.; Mikkonen, S.; Asmi, A.; Wehner, B.; Spindler, G.; Jaatinen, A.; Wiedensohler, A.; Korhonen, H.; Lehtinen, K.E.J.; Laaksonen, A.
    In anthropogenically influenced atmospheres, sulphur dioxide (SO2) is the main precursor of gaseous sulphuric acid (H2SO4), which in turn is a main precursor for atmospheric particle nucleation. As a result of socio-economic changes, East Germany has seen a dramatic decrease in anthropogenic SO2 emissions between 1989 and present, as documented by routine air quality measurements in many locations. We have attempted to evaluate the influence of changing SO2 concentrations on the frequency and intensity of new particle formation (NPF) using two different data sets (1996–1997; 2003–2006) of experimental particle number size distributions (diameter range 3–750 nm) from the atmospheric research station Melpitz near Leipzig, Germany. Between the two periods SO2 concentrations decreased by 65% on average, while the frequency of NPF events dropped by 45%. Meanwhile, the average formation rate of 3 nm particles decreased by 68% on average. The trends were statistically significant and therefore suggest a connection between the availability of anthropogenic SO2 and freshly formed new particles. In contrast to the decrease in new particle formation, we found an increase in the mean growth rate of freshly nucleated particles (+22%), suggesting that particle nucleation and subsequent growth into larger sizes are delineated with respect to their precursor species. Using three basic parameters, the condensation sink for H2SO4, the SO2 concentration, and the global radiation intensity, we were able to define the characteristic range of atmospheric conditions under which particle formation events take place at the Melpitz site. While the decrease in the concentrations and formation rates of the new particles was rather evident, no similar decrease was found with respect to the generation of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN; particle diameter >100 nm) as a result of atmospheric nucleation events. On the contrary, the production of CCN following nucleation events appears to have increased by tens of percents. Our aerosol dynamics model simulations suggest that such an increase can be caused by the increased particle growth rate.