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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1146
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1146
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  19 Feb 2020

19 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

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.

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Maria Zakoura et al.

Maria Zakoura et al.

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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.
The dependence of aerosol acidity on particle size, location and altitude over Europe during a...
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