Articles | Volume 18, issue 19
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 14737–14756, 2018
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 14737–14756, 2018

Research article 12 Oct 2018

Research article | 12 Oct 2018

Global analysis of continental boundary layer new particle formation based on long-term measurements

Tuomo Nieminen1,2, Veli-Matti Kerminen1, Tuukka Petäjä1, Pasi P. Aalto1, Mikhail Arshinov3, Eija Asmi4,5, Urs Baltensperger6, David C. S. Beddows7, Johan Paul Beukes8, Don Collins9, Aijun Ding10, Roy M. Harrison7,11, Bas Henzing12, Rakesh Hooda4,13, Min Hu14, Urmas Hõrrak15, Niku Kivekäs4, Kaupo Komsaare15, Radovan Krejci16, Adam Kristensson17, Lauri Laakso4,8, Ari Laaksonen4,2, W. Richard Leaitch18, Heikki Lihavainen4, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos19, Zoltán Németh20, Wei Nie10, Colin O'Dowd21, Imre Salma20, Karine Sellegri22, Birgitta Svenningsson17, Erik Swietlicki17, Peter Tunved16, Vidmantas Ulevicius23, Ville Vakkari4, Marko Vana15, Alfred Wiedensohler24, Zhijun Wu14, Annele Virtanen2, and Markku Kulmala1,10,25 Tuomo Nieminen et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
  • 3V.E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics SB RAS, Tomsk, Russia
  • 4Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 6Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
  • 7School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  • 8Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • 9Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA
  • 10Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • 11Department of Environmental Sciences/Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80203, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia
  • 12Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 13The Energy and Resources Institute, IHC, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India
  • 14State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 15Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
  • 16Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry & Bolin Centre of Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 17Department of Physics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • 18Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 19Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
  • 20Institute of Chemistry, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 21School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
  • 22Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand, Université Clermont-Auvergne, CNRS UMR6016, Aubière, France
  • 23Department of Environmental Research, SRI Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 24Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 25Aerosol and Haze Laboratory, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, China

Abstract. Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) is an important phenomenon in terms of global particle number concentrations. Here we investigated the frequency of NPF, formation rates of 10 nm particles, and growth rates in the size range of 10–25 nm using at least 1 year of aerosol number size-distribution observations at 36 different locations around the world. The majority of these measurement sites are in the Northern Hemisphere. We found that the NPF frequency has a strong seasonal variability. At the measurement sites analyzed in this study, NPF occurs most frequently in March–May (on about 30 % of the days) and least frequently in December–February (about 10 % of the days). The median formation rate of 10 nm particles varies by about 3 orders of magnitude (0.01–10 cm−3 s−1) and the growth rate by about an order of magnitude (1–10 nm h−1). The smallest values of both formation and growth rates were observed at polar sites and the largest ones in urban environments or anthropogenically influenced rural sites. The correlation between the NPF event frequency and the particle formation and growth rate was at best moderate among the different measurement sites, as well as among the sites belonging to a certain environmental regime. For a better understanding of atmospheric NPF and its regional importance, we would need more observational data from different urban areas in practically all parts of the world, from additional remote and rural locations in North America, Asia, and most of the Southern Hemisphere (especially Australia), from polar areas, and from at least a few locations over the oceans.

Short summary
Atmospheric aerosols have diverse effects on air quality, human health, and global climate. One important source of aerosols is their formation via nucleation and growth in the atmosphere. We have analyzed long-term observations of regional new particle formation events around the globe and provide a comprehensive view on the characteristics of this phenomenon in diverse environments. The results are useful in developing more realistic representation of atmospheric aerosols in global models.
Final-revised paper