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    Number size distributions and seasonality of submicron particles in Europe 2008–2009
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Asmi, A.; Wiedensohler, A.; Laj, P.; Fjaeraa, A.-M.; Sellegri, K.; Birmili, W.; Weingartner, E.; Baltensperger, U.; Zdimal, V.; Zikova, N.; Putaud, J.-P.; Marinoni, A.; Tunved, P.; Hansson, H.-C.; Fiebig, M.; Kivekäs, N.; Lihavainen, H.; Asmi, E.; Ulevicius, V.; Aalto, P.P.; Swietlicki, E.; Kristensson, A.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Kalivitis, N.; Kalapov, I.; Kiss, G.; de Leeuw, G.; Henzing, B.; Harrison, R.M.; Beddows, D.; O'Dowd, C.; Jennings, S.G.; Flentje, H.; Weinhold, K.; Meinhardt, F.; Ries, L.; Kulmala, M.
    Two years of harmonized aerosol number size distribution data from 24 European field monitoring sites have been analysed. The results give a comprehensive overview of the European near surface aerosol particle number concentrations and number size distributions between 30 and 500 nm of dry particle diameter. Spatial and temporal distribution of aerosols in the particle sizes most important for climate applications are presented. We also analyse the annual, weekly and diurnal cycles of the aerosol number concentrations, provide log-normal fitting parameters for median number size distributions, and give guidance notes for data users. Emphasis is placed on the usability of results within the aerosol modelling community. We also show that the aerosol number concentrations of Aitken and accumulation mode particles (with 100 nm dry diameter as a cut-off between modes) are related, although there is significant variation in the ratios of the modal number concentrations. Different aerosol and station types are distinguished from this data and this methodology has potential for further categorization of stations aerosol number size distribution types. The European submicron aerosol was divided into characteristic types: Central European aerosol, characterized by single mode median size distributions, unimodal number concentration histograms and low variability in CCN-sized aerosol number concentrations; Nordic aerosol with low number concentrations, although showing pronounced seasonal variation of especially Aitken mode particles; Mountain sites (altitude over 1000 m a.s.l.) with a strong seasonal cycle in aerosol number concentrations, high variability, and very low median number concentrations. Southern and Western European regions had fewer stations, which decreases the regional coverage of these results. Aerosol number concentrations over the Britain and Ireland had very high variance and there are indications of mixed air masses from several source regions; the Mediterranean aerosol exhibit high seasonality, and a strong accumulation mode in the summer. The greatest concentrations were observed at the Ispra station in Northern Italy with high accumulation mode number concentrations in the winter. The aerosol number concentrations at the Arctic station Zeppelin in Ny-\AA lesund in Svalbard have also a strong seasonal cycle, with greater concentrations of accumulation mode particles in winter, and dominating summer Aitken mode indicating more recently formed particles. Observed particles did not show any statistically significant regional work-week or weekday related variation in number concentrations studied. Analysis products are made for open-access to the research community, available in a freely accessible internet site. The results give to the modelling community a reliable, easy-to-use and freely available comparison dataset of aerosol size distributions.
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    Diurnal variations of ambient particulate wood burning emissions and their contribution to the concentration of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Seiffen, Germany
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Poulain, L.; Iinuma, Y.; Müller, K.; Birmili, W.; Weinhold, K.; Brüggemann, E.; Gnauk, T.; Hausmann, A.; Löschau, G.; Wiedensohler, A.; Herrmann, H.
    Residential wood burning is becoming an increasingly important cause of air quality problems since it has become a popular source of alternative energy to fossil fuel. In order to characterize the contribution of residential wood burning to local particle pollution, a field campaign was organized at the village of Seiffen (Saxony, Germany). During this campaign, an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) was deployed in parallel to a PM1 high volume filter sampler. The AMS mass spectra were analyzed using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) to obtain detailed information about the organic aerosol (OA). Biomass-burning organic aerosol (BBOA), Hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA), and Oxygenated Organic Aerosol (OOA) were identified and represented 20%, 17% and 62% of total OA, respectively. Additionally, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) were measured by the AMS with an average concentration of 10 ng m−3 and short term events of extremely high PAH concentration (up to 500 ng m−3) compared to the mean PAH value were observed during the whole measurement period. A comparison with the results from PM1 filter samples showed that the BBOA factor and the AMS PAH are good indicators of the total concentration of the different monosaccharide anhydrides and PAH measured on the filter samples. Based on its low correlation with CO and the low car traffic, the HOA factor was considered to be related to residential heating using liquid fuel. An influence of the time of the week (week vs. weekend) on the diurnal profiles of the different OA components was observed. The weekdays were characterized by two maxima; a first one early in the morning and a stronger one in the evening. During the weekend days, the different OA components principally reached only one maximum in the afternoon. Finally, the PAH emitted directly from residential wood combustion was estimated to represent 1.5% of the total mass of the BBOA factor and around 62% of the total PAH concentration measured at Seiffen. This result highlights the important contribution of residential wood combustion to air quality and PAH emissions at the sampling place, which might have a significant impact on human health. Moreover, it also emphasizes the need for a better time resolution of the chemical characterization of toxic particulate compounds in order to provide more information on variations of the different sources through the days as well as to better estimate the real human exposure.
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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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    Analysis of number size distributions of tropical free tropospheric aerosol particles observed at Pico Espejo (4765 m a.s.l.), Venezuela
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2011) Schmeissner, T.; Krejci, R.; Ström, J.; Birmili, W.; Wiedensohler, A.; Hochschild, G.; Gross, J.; Hoffmann, P.; Calderon, S.
    The first long-term measurements of aerosol number and size distributions in South-American tropical free troposphere (FT) were performed from March 2007 until March 2009. The measurements took place at the high altitude Atmospheric Research Station Alexander von Humboldt. The station is located on top of the Sierra Nevada mountain ridge at 4765 m a.s.l. nearby the city of Mérida, Venezuela. Aerosol size distribution and number concentration data was obtained with a custom-built Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (DMPS) system and a Condensational Particle Counter (CPC). The analysis of the annual and diurnal variability of the tropical FT aerosol focused mainly on possible links to the atmospheric general circulation in the tropics. Considerable annual and diurnal cycles of the particle number concentration were observed. Highest total particle number concentrations were measured during the dry season (January–March, 519 ± 613 cm−3), lowest during the wet season (July–September, 318 ± 194 cm−3). The more humid FT (relative humidity (RH) range 50–95 %) contained generally higher aerosol particle number concentrations (573 ± 768 cm−3 during dry season, 320 ± 195 cm−3 during wet season) than the dry FT (RH < 50 %, 454 ± 332 cm−3 during dry season, 275 ± 172 cm−3 during wet season), indicating the importance of convection for aerosol distributions in the tropical FT. The diurnal cycle in the variability of the particle number concentration was mainly driven by local orography.
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    On the formation of sulphuric acid – Amine clusters in varying atmospheric conditions and its influence on atmospheric new particle formation
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2012) Paasonen, P.; Olenius, T.; Kupiainen, O.; Kurtén, T.; Petäjä, T.; Birmili, W.; Hamed, A.; Hu, M.; Huey, L.G.; Plass-Duelmer, C.; Smith, J.N.; Wiedensohler, A.; Loukonen, V.; McGrath, M.J.; Ortega, I.K.; Laaksonen, A.; Vehkamäki, H.; Kerminen, V.-M.; Kulmala, M.
    Sulphuric acid is a key component in atmospheric new particle formation. However, sulphuric acid alone does not form stable enough clusters to initiate particle formation in atmospheric conditions. Strong bases, such as amines, have been suggested to stabilize sulphuric acid clusters and thus participate in particle formation. We modelled the formation rate of clusters with two sulphuric acid and two amine molecules (JA2B2) at varying atmospherically relevant conditions with respect to concentrations of sulphuric acid ([H2SO4]), dimethylamine ([DMA]) and trimethylamine ([TMA]), temperature and relative humidity (RH). We also tested how the model results change if we assume that the clusters with two sulphuric acid and two amine molecules would act as seeds for heterogeneous nucleation of organic vapours (other than amines) with higher atmospheric concentrations than sulphuric acid. The modelled formation rates JA2B2 were functions of sulphuric acid concentration with close to quadratic dependence, which is in good agreement with atmospheric observations of the connection between the particle formation rate and sulphuric acid concentration. The coefficients KA2B2 connecting the cluster formation rate and sulphuric acid concentrations as JA2B2=KA2B2[H2SO4]2 turned out to depend also on amine concentrations, temperature and relative humidity. We compared the modelled coefficients KA2B2 with the corresponding coefficients calculated from the atmospheric observations (Kobs) from environments with varying temperatures and levels of anthropogenic influence. By taking into account the modelled behaviour of JA2B2 as a function of [H2SO4], temperature and RH, the atmospheric particle formation rate was reproduced more closely than with the traditional semi-empirical formulae based on sulphuric acid concentration only. The formation rates of clusters with two sulphuric acid and two amine molecules with different amine compositions (DMA or TMA or one of both) had different responses to varying meteorological conditions and concentrations of vapours participating in particle formation. The observed inverse proportionality of the coefficient Kobs with RH and temperature agreed best with the modelled coefficient KA2B2 related to formation of a cluster with two H2SO4 and one or two TMA molecules, assuming that these clusters can grow in collisions with abundant organic vapour molecules. In case this assumption is valid, our results suggest that the formation rate of clusters with at least two of both sulphuric acid and amine molecules might be the rate-limiting step for atmospheric particle formation. More generally, our analysis elucidates the sensitivity of the atmospheric particle formation rate to meteorological variables and concentrations of vapours participating in particle formation (also other than H2SO4).
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    Atmospheric black carbon and warming effects influenced by the source and absorption enhancement in central Europe
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Nordmann, S.; Cheng, Y.F.; Carmichael, G.R.; Yu, M.; van der Gon, H.A.C.Denier; Zhang, Q.; Saide, P.E.; Pöschl, U.; Su, H.; Birmili, W.; Wiedensohler, A.
    Particles containing black carbon (BC), a strong absorbing substance, exert a rather uncertain direct and indirect radiative forcing in the atmosphere. To investigate the mass concentration and absorption properties of BC particles over central Europe, the model WRF-Chem was used at a resolution of 12 km in conjunction with a high-resolution BC emission inventory (EUCAARI 42-Pan-European Carbonaceous Aerosol Inventory; 1/8° × 1/16°). The model simulation was evaluated using measurements of equivalent soot carbon, absorption coefficients and particle number concentrations at seven sites within the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network, PM mass concentrations from the dense measurement network of the German Federal Environmental Agency at 392 monitoring stations, and aerosol optical depth from MODIS and AERONET. A distinct time period (25 March to 10 April 2009) was chosen, during which the clean marine air mass prevailed in the first week and afterwards the polluted continental air mass mainly from the southeast dominated with elevated daily average BC concentration of up to 4 μ g m−3. The simulated PM mass concentration, aerosol number concentration and optical depth were in good agreement with the observations, while the modelled BC mass concentrations were found to be a factor of 2 lower than the observations. Together with back trajectories, detailed model bias analyses suggested that the current BC emission in countries to the east and south of Germany might be underestimated by a factor of 5, at least for the simulation period. Running the model with upscaled BC emissions in these regions led to a smaller model bias and a better correlation between model and measurement. In contrast, the particle absorption coefficient was positively biased by about 20% even when the BC mass concentration was underestimated by around 50%. This indicates that the internal mixture treatment of BC in the WRF-Chem optical calculation is unrealistic in our case, which overamplifies the light absorption by BC-containing particles. By adjusting the modelled mass absorption cross-section towards the measured values, the simulation of particle light absorption of BC was improved as well. Finally, the positive direct radiative forcing of BC particles at the top of the atmosphere was estimated to be in the range of 0 to +4 W m−2 over Germany for the model run with improved BC mass concentration and adjusted BC light absorption cross-section. This adjustment lowered the positive forcing of BC by up to 70%, compared with the internal mixing treatment of BC in the model simulation.
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    Analysis of nucleation events in the European boundary layer using the regional aerosol-climate model REMO-HAM with a solar radiation-driven OH-proxy
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Pietikäinen, J.-P.; Mikkonen, S.; Hamed, A.; Hienola, A.I.; Birmili, W.; Kulmala, M.; Laaksonen, A.
    This work describes improvements in the regional aerosol–climate model REMO-HAM in order to simulate more realistically the process of atmospheric new particle formation (NPF). A new scheme was implemented to simulate OH radical concentrations using a proxy approach based on observations and also accounting for the effects of clouds upon OH concentrations. Second, the nucleation rate calculation was modified to directly simulate the formation rates of 3 nm particles, which removes some unnecessary steps in the formation rate calculations used earlier in the model. Using the updated model version, NPF over Europe was simulated for the periods 2003–2004 and 2008–2009. The statistics of the simulated particle formation events were subsequently compared to observations from 13 ground-based measurement sites. The new model shows improved agreement with the observed NPF rates compared to former versions and can simulate the event statistics realistically for most parts of Europe.
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    Hygroscopic properties of the Paris urban aerosol in relation to its chemical composition
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Kamilli, K.A.; Poulain, L.; Held, A.; Nowak, A.; Birmili, W.; Wiedensohler, A.
    Aerosol hygroscopic growth factors and chemical properties were measured as part of the MEGAPOLI "Megacities Plume Case Study" at the urban site Laboratoire d'Hygiène de la Ville de Paris (LHVP) in the city center of Paris from June to August 2009, and from January to February 2010. Descriptive hygroscopic growth factors (DGF) were derived in the diameter range from 25 to 350 nm at relative humidities of 30, 55, 75, and 90% by applying the summation method on humidified and dry aerosol size distributions measured simultaneously with a humidified differential mobility particle sizer (HDMPS) and a twin differential mobility particle sizer (TDMPS). For 90% relative humidity, the DGF varied from 1.06 to 1.46 in summer, and from 1.06 to 1.66 in winter. Temporal variations in the observed mean DGF could be well explained with a simple growth model based on the aerosol chemical composition measured by aerosol mass spectrometry (AMS) and black carbon photometry (MAAP). In particular, good agreement was observed when sulfate was the predominant inorganic factor. A clear overestimation of the predicted growth factor was found when the nitrate mass concentration exceeded values of 10 μg m−3, e.g., during winter.
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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.
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    Ion-particle interactions during particle formation and growth at a coniferous forest site in central Europe
    (München : European Geopyhsical Union, 2014) Gonser, S.G.; Klein, F.; Birmili, W.; Größ, J.; Kulmala, M.; Manninen, H.E.; Wiedensohler, A.; Held, A.
    In this work, we examined the interaction of ions and neutral particles during atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) events. The analysis is based on simultaneous field measurements of atmospheric ions and total particles using a neutral cluster and air ion spectrometer (NAIS) across the diameter range 2–25 nm. The Waldstein research site is located in a spruce forest in NE Bavaria, Southern Germany, known for enhanced radon concentrations, presumably leading to elevated ionization rates. Our observations show that the occurrence of the ion nucleation mode preceded that of the total particle nucleation mode during all analyzed NPF events. The time difference between the appearance of 2 nm ions and 2 nm total particles was typically about 20 to 30 min. A cross correlation analysis showed a rapid decrease of the time difference between the ion and total modes during the growth process. Eventually, this time delay vanished when both ions and total particles did grow to larger diameters. Considering the growth rates of ions and total particles separately, total particles exhibited enhanced growth rates at diameters below 15 nm. This observation cannot be explained by condensation or coagulation, because these processes would act more efficiently on charged particles compared to neutral particles. To explain our observations, we propose a mechanism including recombination and attachment of continuously present cluster ions with the ion nucleation mode and the neutral nucleation mode, respectively.