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    Hydroxymethanesulfonic acid in size-segregated aerosol particles at nine sites in Germany
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Scheinhardt, S.; van Pinxteren, D.; Müller, K.; Spindler, G.; Herrmann, H.
    In the course of two field campaigns, size-segregated particle samples were collected at nine sites in Germany, including traffic, urban, rural, marine and mountain sites. During the chemical characterisation of the samples some of them were found to contain an unknown substance that was later identified as hydroxymethanesulfonic acid (HMSA). HMSA is known to be formed during the reaction of S(IV) (HSO3− or SO32−) with formaldehyde in the aqueous phase. Due to its stability, HMSA can act as a reservoir species for S(IV) in the atmosphere and is therefore of interest for the understanding of atmospheric sulfur chemistry. However, no HMSA data are available for atmospheric particles from central Europe, and even on a worldwide scale data are scarce. Thus, the present study now provides a representative data set with detailed information on HMSA concentrations in size-segregated central European aerosol particles. HMSA mass concentrations in this data set were highly variable: HMSA was found in 224 out of 738 samples (30%), sometimes in high mass concentrations exceeding those of oxalic acid. On average over all 154 impactor runs, 31.5 ng m−3 HMSA was found in PM10, contributing 0.21% to the total mass. The results show that the particle diameter, the sampling location, the sampling season and the air mass origin impact the HMSA mass concentration. Highest concentrations were found in the particle fraction 0.42–1.2 μm, at urban sites, in winter and with eastern (continental) air masses, respectively. The results suggest that HMSA is formed during aging of pollution plumes. A positive correlation of HMSA with sulfate, oxalate and PM is found (R2 > 0.4). The results furthermore suggest that the fraction of HMSA in PM slightly decreases with increasing pH.
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    Development of an online-coupled MARGA upgrade for the 2 h interval quantification of low-molecular-weight organic acids in the gas and particle phases
    (Göttingen : Copernicus GmbH, 2019) Stieger, B.; Spindler, G.; Van Pinxteren, D.; Grüner, A.; Wallasch, M.; Herrmann, H.
    A method is presented to quantify the lowmolecular- weight organic acids such as formic, acetic, propionic, butyric, pyruvic, glycolic, oxalic, malonic, succinic, malic, glutaric, and methanesulfonic acid in the atmospheric gas and particle phases, based on a combination of the Monitor for AeRosols and Gases in ambient Air (MARGA) and an additional ion chromatography (Compact IC) instrument. Therefore, every second hourly integrated MARGA gas and particle samples were collected and analyzed by the Compact IC, resulting in 12 values per day for each phase. A proper separation of the organic target acids was initially tackled by a laboratory IC optimization study, testing different separation columns, eluent compositions and eluent flow rates for both isocratic and gradient elution. Satisfactory resolution of all compounds was achieved using a gradient system with two coupled anion-exchange separation columns. Online pre-concentration with an enrichment factor of approximately 400 was achieved by solid-phase extraction consisting of a methacrylate-polymer-based sorbent with quaternary ammonium groups. The limits of detection of the method range between 0.5 ngm3 for malonate and 17.4 ngm3 for glutarate. Precisions are below 1.0 %, except for glycolate (2.9 %) and succinate (1.0 %). Comparisons of inorganic anions measured at the TROPOS research site in Melpitz, Germany, by the original MARGA and the additional Compact IC are in agreement with each other (R2 D0.95-0.99). Organic acid concentrations from May 2017 as an example period are presented. Monocarboxylic acids were dominant in the gas phase with mean concentrations of 306 ngm3 for acetic acid, followed by formic (199 ngm3), propionic (83 ngm3), pyruvic (76 ngm3), butyric (34 ngm3) and glycolic acid (32 ngm3). Particulate glycolate, oxalate and methanesulfonate were quantified with mean concentrations of 26, 31 and 30 ngm3, respectively. Elevated concentrations of gas-phase formic acid and particulate oxalate in the late afternoon indicate photochemical formation as a source.
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    Relating particle hygroscopicity and CCN activity to chemical composition during the HCCT-2010 field campaign
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2013) Wu, Z.J.; Poulain, L.; Henning, S.; Dieckmann, K.; Birmili, W.; Merkel, M.; van Pinxteren, D.; Spindler, G.; Müller, K.; Stratmann, F.; Herrmann, H.; Wiedensohler, A.
    Particle hygroscopic growth at 90% RH (relative humidity), cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity, and size-resolved chemical composition were concurrently measured in the Thüringer Wald mid-level mountain range in central Germany in the fall of 2010. The median hygroscopicity parameter values, κ, of 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, and 250 nm particles derived from hygroscopicity measurements are respectively 0.14, 0.14, 0.17, 0.21, 0.24, and 0.28 during the sampling period. The closure between HTDMA (Hygroscopicity Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzers)-measured (κHTDMA) and chemical composition-derived (κchem) hygroscopicity parameters was performed based on the Zdanovskii–Stokes–Robinson (ZSR) mixing rule. Using size-averaged chemical composition, the κ values are substantially overpredicted (30 and 40% for 150 and 100 nm particles). Introducing size-resolved chemical composition substantially improved closure. We found that the evaporation of NH4NO3, which may happen in a HTDMA system, could lead to a discrepancy in predicted and measured particle hygroscopic growth. The hygroscopic parameter of the organic fraction, κorg, is positively correlated with the O : C ratio (κorg = 0.19 × (O : C) − 0.03). Such correlation is helpful to define the κorg value in the closure study. κ derived from CCN measurement was around 30% (varied with particle diameters) higher than that determined from particle hygroscopic growth measurements (here, hydrophilic mode is considered only). This difference might be explained by the surface tension effects, solution non-ideality, gas-particle partitioning of semivolatile compounds, and the partial solubility of constituents or non-dissolved particle matter. Therefore, extrapolating from HTDMA data to properties at the point of activation should be done with great care. Finally, closure study between CCNc (cloud condensation nucleus counter)-measured (κCCN) and chemical composition (κCCN, chem) was performed using CCNc-derived κ values for individual components. The results show that the κCCN can be well predicted using particle size-resolved chemical composition and the ZSR mixing rule.
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    Aerosol hygroscopicity derived from size-segregated chemical composition and its parameterization in the North China Plain
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Liu, H.J.; Zhao, C.S.; Nekat, B.; Ma, N.; Wiedensohler, A.; van Pinxteren, D.; Spindler, G.; Müller, K.; Herrmann, H.
    Hygroscopic growth of aerosol particles is of significant importance in quantifying the aerosol radiative effect in the atmosphere. In this study, hygroscopic properties of ambient particles are investigated based on particle chemical composition at a suburban site in the North China Plain during the HaChi campaign (Haze in China) in summer 2009. The size-segregated aerosol particulate mass concentration as well as the particle components such as inorganic ions, organic carbon and water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) are identified from aerosol particle samples collected with a ten-stage impactor. An iterative algorithm is developed to evaluate the hygroscopicity parameter κ from the measured chemical composition of particles. During the HaChi summer campaign, almost half of the mass concentration of particles between 150 nm and 1 μm is contributed by inorganic species. Organic matter (OM) is abundant in ultrafine particles, and 77% of the particulate mass with diameter (Dp) of around 30 nm is composed of OM. A large fraction of coarse particle mass is undetermined and is assumed to be insoluble mineral dust and liquid water. The campaign's average size distribution of κ values shows three distinct modes: a less hygroscopic mode (Dp < 150 nm) with κ slightly above 0.2, a highly hygroscopic mode (150 nm < Dp < 1 μm) with κ greater than 0.3 and a nearly hydrophobic mode (Dp > 1 μm) with κ of about 0.1. The peak of the κ curve appears around 450 nm with a maximum value of 0.35. The derived κ values are consistent with results measured with a high humidity tandem differential mobility analyzer within the size range of 50–250 nm. Inorganics are the predominant species contributing to particle hygroscopicity, especially for particles between 150 nm and 1 μm. For example, NH4NO3, H2SO4, NH4HSO4 and (NH4)2SO4 account for nearly 90% of κ for particles of around 900 nm. For ultrafine particles, WSOC plays a critical role in particle hygroscopicity due to the predominant mass fraction of OM in ultrafine particles. WSOC for particles of around 30 nm contribute 52% of κ. Aerosol hygroscopicity is related to synoptic transport patterns. When southerly wind dominates, particles are more hygroscopic; when northerly wind dominates, particles are less hygroscopic. Aerosol hygroscopicity also has a diurnal variation, which can be explained by the diurnal evolution of planetary boundary layer, photochemical aging processes during daytime and enhanced black carbon emission at night. κ is highly correlated with mass fractions of SO42−, NO3− and NH4+ for all sampled particles as well as with the mass fraction of WSOC for particles of less than 100 nm. A parameterization scheme for κ is developed using mass fractions of SO42−, NO3−, NH4+ and WSOC due to their high correlations with κ, and κ calculated from the parameterization agrees well with κ derived from the particle's chemical composition. Further analysis shows that the parameterization scheme is applicable to other aerosol studies in China.
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    Seasonal and diurnal variations of particulate nitrate and organic matter at the IfT research station Melpitz
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Poulain, L.; Spindler, G.; Birmili, W.; Plass-Dülmer, C.; Weinhold, K.; Wiedensohler, A.; Herrmann, H.
    Ammonium nitrate and several organic compounds such as dicarboxylic acids (e.g. succinic acid, glutaric acid), some Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAHs) or some n-alkanes are semi-volatile. The transition of these compounds between the gas and particulate phase may significantly change the aerosol particles radiative properties, the heterogeneous chemical properties, and, naturally, the total particulate mass concentration. To better assess these time-dependent effects, three intensive field experiments were conducted in 2008–2009 at the Central European EMEP research station Melpitz (Germany) using an Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS). Data from all seasons highlight organic matter as being the most important particulate fraction of PM1 in summer (59%) while in winter, the nitrate fraction was more prevalent (34.4%). The diurnal variation of nitrate always showed the lowest concentration during the day while its concentration increased during the night. This night increase of nitrate concentration was higher in winter (ΔNO3− = 3.6 μg m−3) than in summer (ΔNO3− = 0.7 μg m−3). The variation in particulate nitrate was inherently linked to the gas-to-particle-phase equilibrium of ammonium nitrate and the dynamics of the atmosphere during day. The results of this study suggest that during summer nights, the condensation of HNO3 and NH3 on pre-existing particles represents the most prevalent source of nitrate, whereas during winter, nighttime chemistry is the predominant source of nitrate. During the summer 2008's campaign, a clear diurnal evolution in the oxidation state of the organic matter became evident (Organic Mass to Organic Carbon ratio (OM/OC) ranging from 1.65 during night to 1.80 during day and carbon oxidation state (OSc) from −0.66 to −0.4), which could be correlated to hydroxyl radical (OH) and ozone concentrations, indicating a photochemical transformation process. In summer, the organic particulate matter seemed to be heavily influenced by regional secondary formation and transformation processes, facilitated by photochemical production processes as well as a diurnal cycling of the substances between the gas and particulate phase. In winter, these processes were obviously less pronounced (OM/OC ranging from 1.60 to 1.67 and OSc from −0.8 to −0.7), so that organic matter apparently originated mainly from aged particles and long range transport.
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    Meteorological and trace gas factors affecting the number concentration of atmospheric Aitken (DP Combining double low line 50 nm) particles in the continental boundary layer: Parameterization using a multivariate mixed effects model
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Mikkonen, S.; Korhonen, H.; Romakkaniemi, S.; Smith, J.N.; Joutsensaari, J.; Lehtinen, K.E.J.; Hamed, A.; Breider, T.J.; Birmili, W.; Spindler, G.; Plass-Duelmer, C.; Facchini, M.C.; Laaksonen, A.
    Measurements of aerosol size distribution and different gas and meteorological parameters, made in three polluted sites in Central and Southern Europe: Po Valley, Italy, Melpitz and Hohenpeissenberg in Germany, were analysed for this study to examine which of the meteorological and trace gas variables affect the number concentration of Aitken (Dp= 50 nm) particles. The aim of our study was to predict the number concentration of 50 nm particles by a combination of in-situ meteorological and gas phase parameters. The statistical model needs to describe, amongst others, the factors affecting the growth of newly formed aerosol particles (below 10 nm) to 50 nm size, but also sources of direct particle emissions in that size range. As the analysis method we used multivariate nonlinear mixed effects model. Hourly averages of gas and meteorological parameters measured at the stations were used as predictor variables; the best predictive model was attained with a combination of relative humidity, new particle formation event probability, temperature, condensation sink and concentrations of SO2, NO2 and ozone. The seasonal variation was also taken into account in the mixed model structure. Model simulations with the Global Model of Aerosol Processes (GLOMAP) indicate that the parameterization can be used as a part of a larger atmospheric model to predict the concentration of climatically active particles. As an additional benefit, the introduced model framework is, in theory, applicable for any kind of measured aerosol parameter.
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    Variability of black carbon mass concentrations, sub-micrometer particle number concentrations and size distributions: results of the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network ranging from city street to High Alpine locations
    (Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier Science, 2018) Sun, J.; Birmili, W.; Hermann, M.; Tuch, T.; Weinhold, K.; Spindler, G.; Schladitz, A.; Bastian, S.; Löschau, G.; Cyrys, J.; Gu, J.; Flentje, H.; Briel, B.; Asbac, C.; Kaminski, H.; Ries, L.; Sohme, R.; Gerwig, H.; Wirtz, K.; Meinhardt, F.; Schwerin, A.; Bath, O.; Ma, N.; Wiedensohler, A.
    This work reports the first statistical analysis of multi-annual data on tropospheric aerosols from the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN). Compared to other networks worldwide, GUAN with 17 measurement locations has the most sites equipped with particle number size distribution (PNSD) and equivalent black carbon (eBC) instruments and the most site categories in Germany ranging from city street/roadside to High Alpine. As we know, the variations of eBC and particle number concentration (PNC) are influenced by several factors such as source, transformation, transport and deposition. The dominant controlling factor for different pollutant parameters might be varied, leading to the different spatio-temporal variations among the measured parameters. Currently, a study of spatio-temporal variations of PNSD and eBC considering the influences of both site categories and spatial scale is still missing. Based on the multi-site dataset of GUAN, the goal of this study is to investigate how pollutant parameters may interfere with spatial characteristics and site categories. © 2019 The Authors
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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.
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    Modelling of sea salt concentrations over Europe: Key uncertainties and comparison with observations
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Tsyro, S.; Aas, W.; Soares, J.; Sofiev, M.; Berge, H.; Spindler, G.
    Sea salt aerosol can significantly affect the air quality. Sea salt can cause enhanced concentrations of particulate matter and change particle chemical composition, in particular in coastal areas, and therefore should be accounted for in air quality modelling. We have used an EMEP Unified model to calculate sea salt concentrations and depositions over Europe, focusing on studying the effects of uncertainties in sea salt production and lifetime on calculation results. Model calculations of sea salt have been compared with EMEP observations of sodium concentrations in air and precipitation for a four year period, from 2004 to 2007, including size (fine/coarse) resolved EMEP intensive measurements in 2006 and 2007. In the presented calculations, sodium air concentrations are between 8% and 46% overestimated, whereas concentrations in precipitation are systematically underestimated by 65–70% for years 2004–2007. A series of model tests have been performed to investigate the reasons for this underestimation, but further studies are needed. The model is found to reproduce the spatial distribution of Na+ in air and precipitation over Europe fairly well, and to capture most of sea salt episodes. The paper presents the main findings from a series of tests in which we compare several different sea spray source functions and also look at the effects of meteorological input and the efficiency of removal processes on calculated sea salt concentrations. Finally, sea salt calculations with the EMEP model have been compared with results from the SILAM model and observations for 2007. While the models produce quite close results for Na+ at the majority of 26 measurement sites, discrepancies in terms of bias and temporal correlation are also found. Those differences are believed to occur due to differences in the representation of source function and size distribution of sea salt aerosol, different meteorology used for model runs and the different models' resolution. This study contributes to getting a better insight on uncertainties associated with sea salt calculations and thus facilitates further improvement of aerosol modelling on both regional and global scales.
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    Analysis of exceedances in the daily PM10 mass concentration (50 μg m−3) at a roadside station in Leipzig, Germany
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2012) Engler, C.; Birmili, W.; Spindler, G.; Wiedensohler, A.
    Five years of PM10 and PM2.5 ambient air measurements at a roadside, an urban, and a regional background site in Leipzig (Germany) were analyzed for violations of the legal PM10 limit value (EC, 1999). The annual mean PM10 concentrations at the three sites were well below the legal threshold of 40 μg m−3 (32.6, 22.0 and 21.7 μg m−3, respectively). At roadside, the daily maximum value of 50 μg m−3 was exceeded on 232 days (13% of all days) in 2005–2009, which led to a violation of the EC directive in three out of five years. We analysed the meteorological factors and local source contributions that eventually led to the exceedances of the daily limit value. As noted in other urban environments before, most exceedance days were observed in the cold season. Exceedance days were most probable under synoptic situations characterised by stagnant winds, low temperatures and strong temperature inversions in winter time. However, these extreme situations accounted for only less than half of the exeedance days. We also noticed a significant number of exceedance days that occurred in the cold season under south-westerly winds, and in the warm season in the presence of easterly winds. Our analysis suggests that local as well as regional sources of PM are equally responsible for exceedances days at the roadside site. The conclusion is that a combined effort of local, national and international reduction measures appears most likely to avoid systematic exceedances of the daily limit value in the future.