Articles | Volume 16, issue 4
Research article
01 Mar 2016
Research article |  | 01 Mar 2016

Comprehensive modelling study on observed new particle formation at the SORPES station in Nanjing, China

Xin Huang, Luxi Zhou, Aijun Ding, Ximeng Qi, Wei Nie, Minghuai Wang, Xuguang Chi, Tuukka Petäjä, Veli-Matti Kerminen, Pontus Roldin, Anton Rusanen, Markku Kulmala, and Michael Boy

Abstract. New particle formation (NPF) has been investigated intensively during the last 2 decades because of its influence on aerosol population and the possible contribution to cloud condensation nuclei. However, intensive measurements and modelling activities on this topic in urban metropolitan areas in China with frequent high-pollution episodes are still very limited. This study provides results from a comprehensive modelling study on the occurrence of NPF events in the western part of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region, China. The comprehensive modelling system, which combines the WRF-Chem (the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry) regional chemical transport model and the MALTE-BOX sectional box model (the model to predict new aerosol formation in the lower troposphere), was shown to be capable of simulating atmospheric nucleation and subsequent growth. Here we present a detailed discussion of three typical NPF days, during which the measured air masses were notably influenced by either anthropogenic activities, biogenic emissions, or mixed ocean and continental sources. Overall, simulated NPF events were generally in good agreement with the corresponding measurements, enabling us to get further insights into NPF processes in the YRD region. Based on the simulations, we conclude that biogenic organic compounds, particularly monoterpenes, play an essential role in the initial condensational growth of newly formed clusters through their low-volatility oxidation products. Although some uncertainties remain in this modelling system, this method provides a possibility to better understand particle formation and growth processes.

Short summary
By combining a regional model and a box model, this study simulates new particle formation in Nanjing, China, when the air masses were affected by anthropogenic activities, biogenic emissions, or mixed ocean and continental sources. The simulations reveal that biogenic organic compounds play a vital role in growth of newly formed clusters. This novel combination of two models makes it possible to accomplish new particle formation simulation without direct measurements of all chemical species.
Final-revised paper