Articles | Volume 7, issue 10
23 May 2007
23 May 2007

Sub-micron atmospheric aerosols in the surroundings of Marseille and Athens: physical characterization and new particle formation

T. Petäjä, V.-M. Kerminen, M. Dal Maso, H. Junninen, I. K. Koponen, T. Hussein, P. P. Aalto, S. Andronopoulos, D. Robin, K. Hämeri, J. G. Bartzis, and M. Kulmala

Abstract. The properties of atmospheric aerosol particles in Marseille and Athens were investigated. The studies were performed in Marseille, France, during July 2002 and in Athens, Greece, during June 2003. The aerosol size distribution and the formation and growth rates of newly formed particles were characterized using Differential Mobility Particle Sizers. Hygroscopic properties were observed using a Hygroscopic Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer setup. During both campaigns, the observations were performed at suburban, almost rural sites, and the sites can be considered to show general regional background behavior depending on the wind direction. At both sites there were clear pattern for both aerosol number concentration and hygroscopic properties. Nucleation mode number concentration increased during the morning hours indicating new particle formation, which was observed during more than 30% of the days. The observed formation rate was typically more than 1 cm−3 s−1, and the growth rate was between 1.2–9.9 nm h−1. Based on hygroscopicity measurements in Athens, the nucleation mode size increase was due to condensation of both water insoluble and water soluble material. However, during a period of less anthropogenic influence, the growth was to a larger extent due to water insoluble components. When urban pollution was more pronounced, growth due to condensation of water soluble material dominated.

Final-revised paper