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    Increasing the spatial resolution of cloud property retrievals from Meteosat SEVIRI by use of its high-resolution visible channel: Evaluation of candidate approaches with MODIS observations
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : Copernicus, 2020) Werner, Frank; Deneke, Hartwig
    This study presents and evaluates several candidate approaches for downscaling observations from the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) in order to increase the horizontal resolution of subsequent cloud optical thickness (τ) and effective droplet radius (reff) retrievals from the native ≈ 3km×3km spatial resolution of the narrowband channels to ≈ 1km×1km. These methods make use of SEVIRI's coincident broadband high-resolution visible (HRV) channel. For four example cloud fields, the reliability of each downscaling algorithm is evaluated by means of collocated 1km×1km MODIS radiances, which are reprojected to the horizontal grid of the HRV channel and serve as reference for the evaluation. By using these radiances, smoothed with the modulation transfer function of the native SEVIRI channels, as retrieval input, the accuracy at the SEVIRI standard resolution can be evaluated and an objective comparison of the accuracy of the different downscaling algorithms can be made. For the example scenes considered in this study, it is shown that neglecting high-frequency variations below the SEVIRI standard resolution results in significant random absolute deviations of the retrieved τ and reff of up to ≈ 14 and ≈ 6μm, respectively, as well as biases. By error propagation, this also negatively impacts the reliability of the subsequent calculation of liquid water path (WL) and cloud droplet number concentration (ND), which exhibit deviations of up to ≈ 89gm-2 and ≈ 177cm-3, respectively. For τ , these deviations can be almost completely mitigated by the use of the HRV channel as a physical constraint and by applying most of the presented downscaling schemes. Uncertainties in retrieved reff at the native SEVIRI resolution are smaller, and the improvements from downscaling the observations are less obvious than for τ. Nonetheless, the right choice of downscaling scheme yields noticeable improvements in the retrieved reff. Furthermore, the improved reliability in retrieved cloud products results in significantly reduced uncertainties in derived WL and ND. In particular, one downscaling approach provides clear improvements for all cloud products compared to those obtained from SEVIRI's standard resolution and is recommended for future downscaling endeavors. This work advances efforts to mitigate impacts of scale mismatches among channels of multiresolution instruments on cloud retrievals. © Author(s) 2020.
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    Tropospheric and stratospheric wildfire smoke profiling with lidar: mass, surface area, CCN, and INP retrieval
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : European Geosciences Union, 2021) Ansmann, Albert; Ohneiser, Kevin; Mamouri, Rodanthi-Elisavet; Knopf, Daniel A.; Veselovskii, Igor; Baars, Holger; Engelmann, Ronny; Foth, Andreas; Jimenez, Cristofer; Seifert, Patric; Barja, Boris
    We present retrievals of tropospheric and stratospheric height profiles of particle mass, volume, surface area, and number concentrations in the case of wildfire smoke layers as well as estimates of smoke-related cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and ice-nucleating particle (INP) concentrations from backscatter lidar measurements on the ground and in space. Conversion factors used to convert the optical measurements into microphysical properties play a central role in the data analysis, in addition to estimates of the smoke extinction-to-backscatter ratios required to obtain smoke extinction coefficients. The set of needed conversion parameters for wildfire smoke is derived from AERONET observations of major smoke events, e.g., in western Canada in August 2017, California in September 2020, and southeastern Australia in January-February 2020 as well as from AERONET long-term observations of smoke in the Amazon region, southern Africa, and Southeast Asia. The new smoke analysis scheme is applied to CALIPSO observations of tropospheric smoke plumes over the United States in September 2020 and to ground-based lidar observation in Punta Arenas, in southern Chile, in aged Australian smoke layers in the stratosphere in January 2020. These case studies show the potential of spaceborne and ground-based lidars to document large-scale and long-lasting wildfire smoke events in detail and thus to provide valuable information for climate, cloud, and air chemistry modeling efforts performed to investigate the role of wildfire smoke in the atmospheric system. © 2021 Albert Ansmann et al.
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    Ozone depletion in the Arctic and Antarctic stratosphere induced by wildfire smoke
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2022) Ansmann, Albert; Ohneiser, Kevin; Chudnovsky, Alexandra; Knopf, Daniel A.; Eloranta, Edwin W.; Villanueva, Diego; Seifert, Patric; Radenz, Martin; Barja, Boris; Zamorano, Félix; Jimenez, Cristofer; Engelmann, Ronny; Baars, Holger; Griesche, Hannes; Hofer, Julian; Althausen, Dietrich; Wandinger, Ulla
    A record-breaking stratospheric ozone loss was observed over the Arctic and Antarctica in 2020. Strong ozone depletion occurred over Antarctica in 2021 as well. The ozone holes developed in smoke-polluted air. In this article, the impact of Siberian and Australian wildfire smoke (dominated by organic aerosol) on the extraordinarily strong ozone reduction is discussed. The study is based on aerosol lidar observations in the North Pole region (October 2019-May 2020) and over Punta Arenas in southern Chile at 53.2°S (January 2020-November 2021) as well as on respective NDACC (Network for the Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change) ozone profile observations in the Arctic (Ny-Ålesund) and Antarctica (Neumayer and South Pole stations) in 2020 and 2021. We present a conceptual approach on how the smoke may have influenced the formation of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs), which are of key importance in the ozone-depleting processes. The main results are as follows: (a) the direct impact of wildfire smoke below the PSC height range (at 10-12 km) on ozone reduction seems to be similar to well-known volcanic sulfate aerosol effects. At heights of 10-12 km, smoke particle surface area (SA) concentrations of 5-7 μm2 cm-3 (Antarctica, spring 2021) and 6-10 μm2 cm-3 (Arctic, spring 2020) were correlated with an ozone reduction in terms of ozone partial pressure of 0.4-1.2 mPa (about 30 % further ozone reduction over Antarctica) and of 2-3.5 mPa (Arctic, 20 %-30 % reduction with respect to the long-term springtime mean). (b) Within the PSC height range, we found indications that smoke was able to slightly increase the PSC particle number and surface area concentration. In particular, a smoke-related additional ozone loss of 1-2 mPa (10 %-20 % contribution to the total ozone loss over Antarctica) was observed in the 14-23 km PSC height range in September-October 2020 and 2021. Smoke particle number concentrations ranged from 10 to 100 cm-3 and were about a factor of 10 (in 2020) and 5 (in 2021) above the stratospheric aerosol background level. Satellite observations indicated an additional mean column ozone loss (deviation from the long-term mean) of 26-30 Dobson units (9 %-10 %, September 2020, 2021) and 52-57 Dobson units (17 %-20 %, October 2020, 2021) in the smoke-polluted latitudinal Antarctic belt from 70-80°S. Copyright:
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    Terrestrial or marine – indications towards the origin of ice-nucleating particles during melt season in the European Arctic up to 83.7° N
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : European Geosciences Union, 2021) Hartmann, Markus; Gong, Xianda; Kecorius, Simonas; van Pinxteren, Manuela; Vogl, Teresa; Welti, André; Wex, Heike; Zeppenfeld, Sebastian; Herrmann, Hartmut; Wiedensohler, Alfred; Stratmann, Frank
    Ice-nucleating particles (INPs) initiate the primary ice formation in clouds at temperatures above ca. -38gC and have an impact on precipitation formation, cloud optical properties, and cloud persistence. Despite their roles in both weather and climate, INPs are not well characterized, especially in remote regions such as the Arctic. We present results from a ship-based campaign to the European Arctic during May to July 2017. We deployed a filter sampler and a continuous-flow diffusion chamber for offline and online INP analyses, respectively. We also investigated the ice nucleation properties of samples from different environmental compartments, i.e., the sea surface microlayer (SML), the bulk seawater (BSW), and fog water. Concentrations of INPs (NINP) in the air vary between 2 to 3 orders of magnitudes at any particular temperature and are, except for the temperatures above -10gC and below -32gC, lower than in midlatitudes. In these temperature ranges, INP concentrations are the same or even higher than in the midlatitudes. By heating of the filter samples to 95gC for 1ĝ€¯h, we found a significant reduction in ice nucleation activity, i.e., indications that the INPs active at warmer temperatures are biogenic. At colder temperatures the INP population was likely dominated by mineral dust. The SML was found to be enriched in INPs compared to the BSW in almost all samples. The enrichment factor (EF) varied mostly between 1 and 10, but EFs as high as 94.97 were also observed. Filtration of the seawater samples with 0.2ĝ€¯μm syringe filters led to a significant reduction in ice activity, indicating the INPs are larger and/or are associated with particles larger than 0.2ĝ€¯μm. A closure study showed that aerosolization of SML and/or seawater alone cannot explain the observed airborne NINP unless significant enrichment of INP by a factor of 105 takes place during the transfer from the ocean surface to the atmosphere. In the fog water samples with -3.47gC, we observed the highest freezing onset of any sample. A closure study connecting NINP in fog water and the ambient NINP derived from the filter samples shows good agreement of the concentrations in both compartments, which indicates that INPs in the air are likely all activated into fog droplets during fog events. In a case study, we considered a situation during which the ship was located in the marginal sea ice zone and NINP levels in air and the SML were highest in the temperature range above -10gC. Chlorophyll a measurements by satellite remote sensing point towards the waters in the investigated region being biologically active. Similar slopes in the temperature spectra suggested a connection between the INP populations in the SML and the air. Air mass history had no influence on the observed airborne INP population. Therefore, we conclude that during the case study collected airborne INPs originated from a local biogenic probably marine source. © Author(s) 2021.
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    Identification and source attribution of organic compounds in ultrafine particles near Frankfurt International Airport
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : European Geosciences Union, 2021) Ungeheuer, Florian; van Pinxteren, Dominik; Vogel, Alexander L.
    Analysing the composition of ambient ultrafine particles (UFPs) is a challenging task due to the low mass and chemical complexity of small particles, yet it is a prerequisite for the identification of particle sources and the assessment of potential health risks. Here, we show the molecular characterization of UFPs, based on cascade impactor (Nano-MOUDI) samples that were collected at an air quality monitoring station near one of Europe's largest airports, in Frankfurt, Germany. At this station, particle-size-distribution measurements show an enhanced number concentration of particles smaller than 50 nm during airport operating hours. We sampled the lower UFP fraction (0.010-0.018, 0.018-0.032, 0.032-0.056 classCombining double low lineinline-formula/m) when the air masses arrived from the airport. We developed an optimized filter extraction procedure using ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) for compound separation and a heated electrospray ionization (HESI) source with an Orbitrap high-resolution mass spectrometer (HRMS) as a detector for organic compounds. A non-Target screening detected classCombining double low lineinline-formulag1/4200/ organic compounds in the UFP fraction with sample-To-blank ratios larger than 5. We identified the largest signals as homologous series of pentaerythritol esters (PEEs) and trimethylolpropane esters (TMPEs), which are base stocks of aircraft lubrication oils. We unambiguously attribute the majority of detected compounds to jet engine lubrication oils by matching retention times, high-resolution and accurate mass measurements, and comparing tandem mass spectrometry (MS classCombining double low lineinline-formula2/) fragmentation patterns between both ambient samples and commercially available jet oils. For each UFP stage, we created molecular fingerprints to visualize the complex chemical composition of the organic fraction and their average carbon oxidation state. These graphs underline the presence of the homologous series of PEEs and TMPEs and the appearance of jet oil additives (e.g.Tricresyl phosphate, TCP). Targeted screening of TCP confirmed the absence of the harmful tri-iortho/i isomer, while we identified a thermal transformation product of TMPE-based lubrication oil (trimethylolpropane phosphate, TMP-P). Even though a quantitative determination of the identified compounds is limited, the presented method enables the qualitative detection of molecular markers for jet engine lubricants in UFPs and thus strongly improves the source apportionment of UFPs near airports./p. © 2021 BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
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    The vertical aerosol type distribution above Israel – 2 years of lidar observations at the coastal city of Haifa
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2022) Heese, Birgit; Floutsi, Athena Augusta; Baars, Holger; Althausen, Dietrich; Hofer, Julian; Herzog, Alina; Mewes, Silke; Radenz, Martin; Schechner, Yoav Y.
    For the first time, vertically resolved long-term lidar measurements of the aerosol distribution were conducted in Haifa, Israel. The measurements were performed by a PollyXT multi-wavelength Raman and polarization lidar. The lidar was measuring continuously over a 2-year period from March 2017 to May 2019. The resulting data set is a series of manually evaluated lidar optical property profiles. To identify the aerosol types in the observed layers, a novel aerosol typing method that was developed at TROPOS is used. This method applies optimal estimation to a combination of lidar-derived intensive aerosol properties to determine the statistically most-likely contribution per aerosol component in terms of relative volume. A case study that shows several elevated aerosol layers illustrates this method and shows, for example, that coarse dust particles are observed up to 5ĝ€¯km height over Israel. From the whole data set, the seasonal distribution of the observed aerosol components over Israel is derived. Throughout all seasons, coarse spherical particles like sea salt and hygroscopically grown continental aerosol were observed. These particles originate from continental Europe and were transported over the Mediterranean Sea. Sea-salt particles were observed frequently due to the coastal site of Haifa. The highest contributions of coarse spherical particles are present in summer, autumn, and winter. During spring, mostly coarse non-spherical particles that are attributed to desert dust were observed. This is consistent with the distinct dust season in spring in Israel. An automated time-height-resolved air mass source attribution method identifies the origin of the dust in the Sahara and the Arabian deserts. Fine-mode spherical particles contribute significantly to the observed aerosol mixture during all seasons. These particles originate mainly from the industrial region at the bay of Haifa.
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    Multiphase MCM-CAPRAM modeling of the formation and processing of secondary aerosol constituents observed during the Mt. Tai summer campaign in 2014
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : EGU, 2020) Zhu, Yanhong; Tilgner, Andreas; Hoffmann, Erik Hans; Herrmann, Hartmut; Kawamura, Kimitaka; Yang, Lingxiao; Xue, Likun; Wang, Wenxing
    Despite the high abundance of secondary aerosols in the atmosphere, their formation mechanisms remain poorly understood. In this study, the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) and the Chemical Aqueous-Phase Radical Mechanism (CAPRAM) are used to investigate the multiphase formation and processing of secondary aerosol constituents during the advection of air masses towards the measurement site of Mt. Tai in northern China. Trajectories with and without chemical–cloud interaction are modeled. Modeled radical and non-radical concentrations demonstrate that the summit of Mt. Tai, with an altitude of ∼1.5 km a.m.s.l., is characterized by a suburban oxidants budget. The modeled maximum gas-phase concentrations of the OH radical are 3.2×106 and 3.5×106 molec. cm−3 in simulations with and without cloud passages in the air parcel, respectively. In contrast with previous studies at Mt. Tai, this study has modeled chemical formation processes of secondary aerosol constituents under day vs. night and cloud vs. non-cloud cases along the trajectories towards Mt. Tai in detail. The model studies show that sulfate is mainly produced in simulations where the air parcel is influenced by cloud chemistry. Under the simulated conditions, the aqueous reaction of HSO−3 with H2O2 is the major contributor to sulfate formation, contributing 67 % and 60 % in the simulations with cloud and non-cloud passages, respectively. The modeled nitrate formation is higher at nighttime than during daytime. The major pathway is aqueous-phase N2O5 hydrolysis, with a contribution of 72 % when cloud passages are considered and 70 % when they are not. Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) compounds, e.g., glyoxylic, oxalic, pyruvic and malonic acid, are found to be mostly produced from the aqueous oxidations of hydrated glyoxal, hydrated glyoxylic acid, nitro-2-oxopropanoate and hydrated 3-oxopropanoic acid, respectively. Sensitivity studies reveal that gaseous volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions have a huge impact on the concentrations of modeled secondary aerosol compounds. Increasing the VOC emissions by a factor of 2 leads to linearly increased concentrations of the corresponding SOA compounds. Studies using the relative incremental reactivity (RIR) method have identified isoprene, 1,3-butadiene and toluene as the key precursors for glyoxylic and oxalic acid, but only isoprene is found to be a key precursor for pyruvic acid. Additionally, the model investigations demonstrate that an increased aerosol partitioning of glyoxal can play an important role in the aqueous-phase formation of glyoxylic and oxalic acid. Overall, the present study is the first that provides more detailed insights in the formation pathways of secondary aerosol constituents at Mt. Tai and clearly emphasizes the importance of aqueous-phase chemical processes on the production of multifunctional carboxylic acids.
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    Absorption instruments inter-comparison campaign at the Arctic Pallas station
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : European Geosciences Union, 2021) Asmi, Eija; Backman, John; Servomaa, Henri; Virkkula, Aki; Gini, Maria I.; Eleftheriadis, Konstantinos; Müller, Thomas; Ohata, Sho; Kondo, Yutaka; Hyvärinen, Antti
    Aerosol light absorption was measured during a 1-month field campaign in June-July 2019 at the Pallas Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) station in northern Finland. Very low aerosol concentrations prevailed during the campaign, which posed a challenge for the instruments' detection capabilities. The campaign provided a real-world test for different absorption measurement techniques supporting the goals of the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) Black Carbon (BC) project in developing aerosol absorption standard and reference methods. In this study we compare the results from five filter-based absorption techniques - aethalometer models AE31 and AE33, a particle soot absorption photometer (PSAP), a multi-angle absorption photometer (MAAP), and a continuous soot monitoring system (COSMOS) - and from one indirect technique called extinction minus scattering (EMS). The ability of the filter-based techniques was shown to be adequate to measure aerosol light absorption coefficients down to around 0.01g¯Mm-1 levels when data were averaged to 1-2g¯h. The hourly averaged atmospheric absorption measured by the reference MAAP was 0.09g¯Mm-1 (at a wavelength of 637g¯nm). When data were averaged for >1g¯h, the filter-based methods agreed to around 40g¯%. COSMOS systematically measured the lowest absorption coefficient values, which was expected due to the sample pre-treatment in the COSMOS inlet. PSAP showed the best linear correlation with MAAP (slopeCombining double low line0.95, R2Combining double low line0.78), followed by AE31 (slopeCombining double low line0.93). A scattering correction applied to PSAP data improved the data accuracy despite the added noise. However, at very high scattering values the correction led to an underestimation of the absorption. The AE31 data had the highest noise and the correlation with MAAP was the lowest (R2Combining double low line0.65). Statistically the best linear correlations with MAAP were obtained for AE33 and COSMOS (R2 close to 1), but the biases at around the zero values led to slopes clearly below 1. The sample pre-treatment in the COSMOS instrument resulted in the lowest fitted slope. In contrast to the filter-based techniques, the indirect EMS method was not adequate to measure the low absorption values found at the Pallas site. The lowest absorption at which the EMS signal could be distinguished from the noise was >0.1g¯Mm-1 at 1-2g¯h averaging times. The mass absorption cross section (MAC) value measured at a range 0-0.3g¯Mm-1 was calculated using the MAAP and a single particle soot photometer (SP2), resulting in a MAC value of 16.0±5.7g¯m2g-1. Overall, our results demonstrate the challenges encountered in the aerosol absorption measurements in pristine environments and provide some useful guidelines for instrument selection and measurement practices. We highlight the need for a calibrated transfer standard for better inter-comparability of the absorption results. © Author(s) 2021.
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    Optimizing the detection, ablation, and ion extraction efficiency of a single-particle laser ablation mass spectrometer for application in environments with low aerosol particle concentrations
    (Katlenburg-Lindau : Copernicus, 2020) Clemen, Hans-Christian; Schneider, Johannes; Klimach, Thomas; Helleis, Frank; Köllner, Franziska; Hünig, Andreas; Rubach, Florian; Mertes, Stephan; Wex, Heike; Stratmann, Frank; Welti, André; Kohl, Rebecca; Frank, Fabian; Borrmann, Stephan
    The aim of this study is to show how a newly developed aerodynamic lens system (ALS), a delayed ion extraction (DIE), and better electric shielding improve the efficiency of the Aircraft-based Laser ABlation Aerosol MAss spectrometer (ALABAMA). These improvements are applicable to single-particle laser ablation mass spectrometers in general. To characterize the modifications, extensive sizeresolved measurements with spherical polystyrene latex particles (PSL; 150-6000 nm) and cubic sodium chloride particles (NaCl; 400-1700 nm) were performed. Measurements at a fixed ALS position show an improved detectable particle size range of the new ALS compared to the previously used Liu-type ALS, especially for supermicron particles. At a lens pressure of 2.4 hPa, the new ALS achieves a PSL particle size range from 230 to 3240 nm with 50% detection efficiency and between 350 and 2000 nm with 95% detection efficiency. The particle beam divergence was determined by measuring the detection efficiency at variable ALS positions along the laser cross sections and found to be minimal for PSL at about 800 nm. Compared to measurements by singleparticle mass spectrometry (SPMS) instruments using Liutype ALSs, the minimum particle beam divergence is shifted towards larger particle sizes. However, there are no disadvantages compared to the Liu-type lenses for particle sizes down to 200 nm. Improvements achieved by using the DIE and an additional electric shielding could be evaluated by size-resolved measurements of the hit rate, which is the ratio of laser pulses yielding a detectable amount of ions to the total number of emitted laser pulses. In particular, the hit rate for multiply charged particles smaller than 500 nm is significantly improved by preventing an undesired deflection of these particles in the ion extraction field. Moreover, it was found that by using the DIE the ion yield of the ablation, ionization, and ion extraction process could be increased, resulting in up to 7 times higher signal intensities of the cation spectra. The enhanced ion yield results in a larger effective width of the ablation laser beam, which in turn leads to a hit rate of almost 100% for PSL particles in the size range from 350 to 2000 nm. Regarding cubic NaCl particles the modifications of the ALABAMA result in an up to 2 times increased detection efficiency and an up to 5 times increased hit rate. The need for such instrument modifications arises in particular for measurements of particles that are present in low number concentrations such as ice-nucleating particles (INPs) in general, but also aerosol particles at high altitudes or in pristine environments. Especially for these low particle number concentrations, improved efficiencies help to overcome the statistical limitations of single-particle mass spectrometer measurements. As an example, laboratory INP measurements carried out in this study show that the appli- cation of the DIE alone increases the number of INP mass spectra per time unit by a factor of 2 to 3 for the sampled substances. Overall, the combination of instrument modifications presented here resulted in an increased measurement efficiency of the ALABAMA for different particle types and particles shape as well as for highly charged particles. © 2020 Copernicus GmbH. All rights reserved.
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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.