Articles | Volume 14, issue 20
Research article
29 Oct 2014
Research article |  | 29 Oct 2014

Impacts of new particle formation on aerosol cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity in Shanghai: case study

C. Leng, Q. Zhang, J. Tao, H. Zhang, D. Zhang, C. Xu, X. Li, L. Kong, T. Cheng, R. Zhang, X. Yang, J. Chen, L. Qiao, S. Lou, H. Wang, and C. Chen

Abstract. New particle formation (NPF) events and their impacts on cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) were investigated using continuous measurements collected in urban Shanghai from 1 to 30 April 2012. During the campaign, NPF occurred in 8 out of the 30 days and enhanced CCN number concentration (NCCN) by a factor of 1.2–1.8, depending on supersaturation (SS). The NPF event on 3 April 2012 was chosen as an example to investigate the NPF influence on CCN activity. In this NPF event, secondary aerosols were produced continuously and increased PM2.5 mass concentration at a rate of 4.33 μg cm−3 h−1, and the growth rate (GR) and formation rate (FR) were on average 5 nm h−1 and 0.36 cm−3 s−1, respectively. The newly formed particles grew quickly from nucleation mode (10–20 nm) into CCN size range. NCCN increased rapidly at SS of 0.4–1.0% but weakly at SS of 0.2%. Correspondingly, aerosol CCN activities (fractions of activated aerosol particles in total aerosols, NCCN/NCN) were significantly enhanced from 0.24–0.60 to 0.30–0.91 at SS of 0.2–1.0% due to the NPF. On the basis of the κ-Köhler theory, aerosol size distributions and chemical composition measured simultaneously were used to predict NCCN. There was a good agreement between the predicted and measured NCCN (R2=0.96, Npredicted/Nmeasured=1.04). This study reveals that NPF exerts large impacts on aerosol particle abundance and size spectra; thus, it significantly promotes NCCN and aerosol CCN activity in this urban environment. The GR of NPF is the key factor controlling the newly formed particles to become CCN at all SS levels, whereas the FR is an effective factor only under high SS (e.g., 1.0%) conditions.

Final-revised paper