Articles | Volume 12, issue 23
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 11533–11554, 2012

Special issue: European Integrated Project on Aerosol-Cloud-Climate and Air...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 11533–11554, 2012

Research article 04 Dec 2012

Research article | 04 Dec 2012

Airborne observations of aerosol microphysical properties and particle ageing processes in the troposphere above Europe

T. Hamburger1,*, G. McMeeking2,**, A. Minikin1, A. Petzold1,***, H. Coe2, and R. Krejci3 T. Hamburger et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany
  • 2School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
  • 3Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • *now at: Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • **now at: Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
  • ***now at: Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung IEK-8: Troposphäre, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, 52425 Jülich, Germany

Abstract. In-situ measurements of aerosol microphysical properties were performed in May 2008 during the EUCAARI-LONGREX campaign. Two aircraft, the FAAM BAe-146 and DLR Falcon 20, operated from Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. A comprehensive data set was obtained comprising the wider region of Europe north of the Alps throughout the whole tropospheric column. Prevailing stable synoptic conditions enabled measurements of accumulating emissions inside the continental boundary layer reaching a maximum total number concentration of 19 000 particles cm−3 stp. Ultra-fine particles as indicators for nucleation events were observed within the boundary layer during high pressure conditions and after updraft of emissions induced by frontal passages above 8 km altitude in the upper free troposphere. Aerosol ageing processes during air mass transport are analysed using trajectory analysis. The ratio of particles containing a non-volatile core (250 °C) to the total aerosol number concentration was observed to increase within the first 12 to 48 h from the particle source from 50 to 85% due to coagulation. Aged aerosol also features an increased fraction of accumulation mode particles of approximately 40% of the total number concentration. The presented analysis provides an extensive data set of tropospheric aerosol microphysical properties on a continental scale which can be used for atmospheric aerosol models and comparisons of satellite retrievals.

Final-revised paper