Articles | Volume 8, issue 16
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 4823–4839, 2008

Special issue: European Integrated Project on Aerosol-Cloud-Climate and Air...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 4823–4839, 2008

  19 Aug 2008

19 Aug 2008

Basic characteristics of atmospheric particles, trace gases and meteorology in a relatively clean Southern African Savannah environment

L. Laakso1, H. Laakso1, P. P. Aalto1, P. Keronen1, T. Petäjä1,2, T. Nieminen1, T. Pohja1, E. Siivola1, M. Kulmala1, N. Kgabi3, M. Molefe3, D. Mabaso3, D. Phalatse4, K. Pienaar5, and V.-M. Kerminen6 L. Laakso et al.
  • 1Department of Physical Sciences, University of Helsinki, P. O. BOX 64, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory, Atmospheric Chemistry Division, Nat. Center for Atmospheric Res., Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3Department of Physics, North-West University, Private Bag X 2046, Mmabatho, South Africa
  • 4Department of Biology, North-West University, Private Bag X 2046, Mmabatho, South Africa
  • 5School of Chemistry, North-West University, Private Bag X 6001, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • 6Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. We have analyzed one year (July 2006–July 2007) of measurement data from a relatively clean background site located in dry savannah in South Africa. The annual-median trace gas concentrations were equal to 0.7 ppb for SO2, 1.4 ppb for NOx, 36 ppb for O3 and 105 ppb for CO. The corresponding PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations were 9.0, 10.5 and 18.8 μg m−3, and the annual median total particle number concentration in the size range 10–840 nm was 2340 cm−3. During Easterly winds, influence of industrial sources approximately 150 km away from the measurement site was clearly visible, especially in SO2 and NOx concentrations. Of gases, NOx and CO had a clear annual, and SO2, NOx and O3 clear diurnal cycle. Atmospheric new-particle formation was observed to take place in more than 90% of the analyzed days. The days with no new particle formation were cloudy or rainy days. The formation rate of 10 nm particles varied in the range of 0.1–28 cm−3 s−1 (median 1.9 cm−3 s−1) and nucleation mode particle growth rates were in the range 3–21 nm h−1 (median 8.5 nm h−1). Due to high formation and growth rates, observed new particle formation gives a significant contribute to the number of cloud condensation nuclei budget, having a potential to affect the regional climate forcing patterns.

Final-revised paper