Measurement, growth types and shrinkage of newly formed aerosol particles at an urban research platform
Abstract. Budapest platform for Aerosol Research and Training (BpART) was created for advancing long-term on-line atmospheric measurements and intensive aerosol sample collection campaigns in Budapest. A joint study including atmospheric chemistry or physics, meteorology, and fluid dynamics on several-year-long data sets obtained at the platform confirmed that the location represents a well-mixed, average atmospheric environment for the city centre. The air streamlines indicated that the host and neighbouring buildings together with the natural orography play an important role in the near-field dispersion processes. Details and features of the airflow structure were derived, and they can be readily utilised for further interpretations. An experimental method to determine particle diffusion losses in the differential mobility particle sizer (DMPS) system of the BpART facility was proposed. It is based on CPC–CPC (condensation particle counter) and DMPS–CPC comparisons. Growth types of nucleated particles observed in 4 years of measurements were presented and discussed specifically for cities. Arch-shaped size distribution surface plots consisting of a growth phase followed by a shrinkage phase were characterised separately since they supply information on nucleated particles. They were observed in 4.5 % of quantifiable nucleation events. The shrinkage phase took 1 h 34 min in general, and the mean shrinkage rate with standard deviation was −3.8 ± 1.0 nm h−1. The shrinkage of particles was mostly linked to changes in local atmospheric conditions, especially in global radiation and the gas-phase H2SO4 concentration through its proxy, or to atmospheric mixing in few cases. Some indirect results indicate that variations in the formation and growth rates of nucleated particles during their atmospheric transport could be a driving force of shrinkage for particles of very small sizes and on specific occasions.