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The dependence of aerosol acidity on particle size, location and altitude over Europe during a summertime period is investigated. Differences of up to 1–4 pH units are predicted between sub- and super-micron particles in northern and southern Europe. Particles of all sizes become increasingly acidic with altitude (0.5–2 pH units decrease over 2.5&tinsp;km). The size-dependent pH differences carry important implications for pH-sensitive processes in the aerosol.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1146
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1146

  19 Feb 2020

19 Feb 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

Size-resolved aerosol pH over Europe during summer

Maria Zakoura1,2, Stylianos Kakavas1,2, Athanasios Nenes1,3, and Spyros N. Pandis1,2,4 Maria Zakoura et al.
  • 1Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences, ICE/FORTH, Patras, Greece
  • 2Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Patras, Patras, Greece
  • 3Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • 4Department of Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA

Abstract. The dependence of aerosol acidity on particle size, location and altitude over Europe during a summertime period is investigated using the hybrid version of aerosol dynamics in the chemical transport model PMCAMx. The pH changes more with particle size in northern and southern Europe owing to the enhanced presence of non-volatile cations (Na, Ca, K, Mg) in the larger particles. Differences of up to 1–4 pH units are predicted between sub- and super-micron particles, while the average pH of PM1–2.5 can be as much as 1 unit higher than that of PM1. Most aerosol water over continental Europe is associated with PM1, while PM2.5–5 and PM5–10 dominate the water content in the marine and coastal areas due to the relatively higher levels of hygroscopic sea salt. Particles of all sizes become increasingly acidic with altitude (0.5–2 units pH decrease over 2.5 km) primarily because of the decrease in aerosol liquid water content (driven by humidity changes) with height. Inorganic nitrate is strongly affected by aerosol pH with the highest average nitrate levels predicted for the PM2.5–5 range and over locations where the pH exceeds 3. Dust tends to increase aerosol water levels, aerosol pH and nitrate concentrations for all particle sizes. This effect of dust is quite sensitive to its calcium content. The size-dependent pH differences carry important implications for pH-sensitive processes in the aerosol.

Maria Zakoura et al.

 
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Maria Zakoura et al.

Maria Zakoura et al.

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Latest update: 16 Jan 2021
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Short summary
The dependence of aerosol acidity on particle size, location and altitude over Europe during a summertime period is investigated. Differences of up to 1–4 pH units are predicted between sub- and super-micron particles in northern and southern Europe. Particles of all sizes become increasingly acidic with altitude (0.5–2 pH units decrease over 2.5&tinsp;km). The size-dependent pH differences carry important implications for pH-sensitive processes in the aerosol.
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