07 Jan 2021

07 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Seasonality of the particle number concentration and size distribution: a global analysis retrieved from the network of Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) near-surface observatories

Clémence Rose1, Martine Collaud Coen2, Elisabeth Andrews3,4, Yong Lin5, Isaline Bossert1,6, Cathrine Lund Myhre5, Thomas Tuch7, Alfred Wiedensohler7, Markus Fiebig5, Pasi Aalto8, Andrés Alastuey9, Elisabeth Alonso-Blanco10, Marcos Andrade11, Begoña Artíñano10, Todor Arsov12, Urs Baltensperger13, Susanne Bastian14, Olaf Bath15, Johan Paul Beukes16, Benjamin T. Brem13, Nicolas Bukowiecki13,a, Juan Andrés Casquero-Vera17,18, Sébastien Conil19, Konstantinos Eleftheriadis20, Olivier Favez21, Harald Flentje22, Maria I. Gini20, Francisco Javier Gómez-Moreno10, Martin Gysel-Beer13, A. Gannet Hallar23, Ivo Kalapov12, Nikos Kalivitis24, Anne Kasper-Giebl25, Melita Keywood26, Jeong Eun Kim27, Sang-Woo Kim28, Adam Kristensson29, Markku Kulmala8, Heikki Lihavainen30,31, Neng-Huei Lin32,33, Hassan Lyamani17,18, Angela Marinoni34, Sebastiao Martins Dos Santos35, Olga L. Mayol-Bracero36, Frank Meinhardt15, Maik Merkel7, Jean-Marc Metzger37, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos24,38, Jakub Ondracek39, Marco Pandolfi9, Noemi Pérez9, Tuukka Petäjä8, Jean-Eudes Petit40, David Picard1, Jean-Marc Pichon1, Veronique Pont41, Jean-Philippe Putaud35, Fabienne Reisen26, Karine Sellegri1, Sangeeta Sharma42, Gerhard Schauer43, Patrick Sheridan4, James Patrick Sherman44, Andreas Schwerin15, Ralf Sohmer15, Mar Sorribas45, Junying Sun46, Pierre Tulet47, Ville Vakkari16,30, Pieter Gideon van Zyl16, Fernando Velarde11, Paolo Villani48, Stergios Vratolis20, Zdenek Wagner39, Sheng-Hsiang Wang32, Kay Weinhold7, Rolf Weller49, Margarita Yela45, Vladimir Zdimal39, and Paolo Laj50,34,8 Clémence Rose et al.
  • 1Université Clermont Auvergne, CNRS, Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique (LaMP), F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
  • 2Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, Payerne, Switzerland
  • 3Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 5NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
  • 6Université Bourgogne Franche Comté, Besançon, France
  • 7Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 8Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 9Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Spanish Research Council (CSIC), Barcelona, Spain
  • 10CIEMAT, Center for Research on Energy, Environment and Technology, Joint Research Unit CSIC-CIEMAT, Madrid, Spain
  • 11Laboratorio de Fisica de la Atmosfera, Universidad Mayor de San Andres, La Paz, Bolivia
  • 12Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria
  • 13Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen PSI, Switzerland
  • 14Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG), Dresden, Germany
  • 15German Environment Agency (UBA), Zugspitze, Germany
  • 16Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group, Chemical Resource Beneficiation, North-West University, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa
  • 17Department of Applied Physics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  • 18Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research (IISTA-CEAMA), University of Granada, Autonomous Government of Andalusia, Granada, Spain
  • 19ANDRA DRD/GES Observatoire Pérenne de l’Environnement, 55290 Bure, France
  • 20ERL, Institute of Nuclear and Radiological Science & Technology, Energy & Safety N.C.S.R. “Demokritos”, Attiki, Greece
  • 21Institut National de l’Environnement Industriel et des Risques (INERIS), Verneuil-en-Halatte, France
  • 22German Weather Service, Meteorological Observatory Hohenpeissenberg, Hohenpeißenberg, Germany
  • 23Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
  • 24Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory (ECPL), University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, 71003, Greece
  • 25TU Wien - Institute of Chemical Technlogies and Analytics, Vienna, Austria
  • 26CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, PMB1 Aspendale, VIC, Australia
  • 27Global Atmosphere Watch Team, Innovative Meteorological Research Department, National Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, Korea
  • 28School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
  • 29Lund University, Department of Physics, Division of Nuclear Physics, Lund, Sweden
  • 30Atmospheric composition research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 31Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway
  • 32Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • 33Center for Environmental Monitoring Technology, National Central University, Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • 34Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council of Italy, Bologna, Italy
  • 35European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
  • 36University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 37Observatoire des Sciences de l’Univers de La Réunion (OSUR), UMS3365, Saint -Denis de la Réunion, France
  • 38Institute of Environmental Research & Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, Palea Penteli, 15236, Greece
  • 39Department of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals, CAS, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 40Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, LSCE/IPSL, UMR 8212 CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université ParisSaclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 41Laboratoire d’Aérologie, CNRS-Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, Toulouse, France
  • 42Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 43ZAMG – Sonnblick Observatory, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
  • 44Department of Physics and Astronomy, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA
  • 45Atmospheric Sounding Station, El Arenosillo, Atmospheric Research and Instrumentation Branch, INTA, 21130, Mazagón, Huelva, Spain
  • 46State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather & Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry of CMA, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • 47Laboratoire de l’Atmosphère et des Cyclones (LACy), UMR8105, Université de la Réunion – CNRS – Météo-France, SaintDenis de La Réunion, France
  • 484S Company, 63000 Clermont Ferrand, France
  • 49Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 50Univ. Grenoble-Alpes, CNRS, IRD, Grenoble-INP, IGE, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • anow at: University of Basel, Department of Environmental Sciences, Basel, Switzerland

Abstract. Aerosol particles are a complex component of the atmospheric system that influences climate directly by interacting with solar radiation, and indirectly by contributing to cloud formation. The variety of their sources, as well as the multiple transformations they may undergo during their transport, result in significant spatial and temporal variability of their properties. Documenting this variability is essential to provide a proper representation of aerosols and cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in climate models. Using measurements conducted in 2016 or 2017 at 62 ground based stations around the world, this study provides the most up-to-date picture of the spatial distribution of particle number concentration (Ntot) and number size distribution (PNSD, from 39 sites). A sensitivity study was first performed to assess the impact of data availability on Ntot's annual and seasonal statistics, as well as on the analysis of its diel cycle. Thresholds of 50 % and 60 % were set at the seasonal and annual scale, respectively, for the study of the corresponding statistics, and a slightly higher coverage (75 %) was required to document the diel cycle.

Although some observations are common to a majority of sites, the variety of environments characterizing these stations made it possible to highlight contrasting findings, which, among other factors, seem to be significantly related to the level of anthropogenic influence. The concentrations measured at polar sites are the lowest (~102 cm−3) and show a clear seasonality, which is also visible in the shape of the PNSD, while diel cycles are in general barely marked, due notably to the absence of a regular day-night cycle in some seasons. In contrast, the concentrations characteristic of urban environments are the highest (~103–104 cm−3) and do not show pronounced seasonal variations, whereas diel cycles tend to be very regular over the year at these stations. The remaining sites, including mountain and non-urban continental and coastal stations, do not exhibit as obvious common behaviour as polar and urban sites and display, on average, intermediate Ntot (~102–103 cm−3). Particle concentrations measured at mountain sites, however, are generally lower compared to nearby lowland sites, and tend to exhibit somewhat more pronounced seasonal variations as a likely result of the strong impact of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) influence in connection with the topography of the sites. ABL dynamics also likely contribute to the diel cycle of Ntot observed at these stations. Based on available PNSD measurements, CCN-sized particles (i.e. > 50–100 nm) can represent from a few percent to almost all of Ntot, corresponding to seasonal medians in the order of ~10 to 1000 cm−3, with seasonal patterns and a hierarchy of the site types broadly similar to those observed for Ntot.

Overall, this work illustrates the importance of in-situ measurements, in particular for the study of aerosol physical properties, and thus strongly supports the development of a broad global network of near surface observatories to increase and homogenize the spatial coverage of the measurements, and guarantee as well data availability and quality. The results of this study also provide a valuable, freely available and easy to use support for model comparison and validation, with the ultimate goal of contributing to improvement of the representation of aerosol-cloud interactions in models, and, therefore, of the evaluation of the impact of aerosol particles on climate.

Clémence Rose et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Reviewer comment', Anonymous Referee #1, 04 Feb 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2020-1311', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 May 2021

Clémence Rose et al.

Clémence Rose et al.


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Short summary
Aerosol particles are a complex component of the atmospheric system which effects are among the most uncertain in climate change projections. Using data collected at 62 stations, this study provides the most up-to-date picture of the spatial distribution of particle number concentration and size distribution worldwide, with the aim of contributing to better representation of aerosols and their interactions with clouds in models and, therefore, better evaluation of their impact on climate.