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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  14 May 2020

14 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Increased new particle yields with largely decreased probability of survival to CCN size at the summit of Mt. Tai under reduced SO2 emissions

Yujiao Zhu1, Likun Xue1,2, Jian Gao3, Jianmin Chen4, Hongyong Li1, Yong Zhao5, Zhaoxin Guo5, Tianshu Chen1, Liang Wen1, Penggang Zheng1, Ye Shan1, Xinfeng Wang1, Tao Wang6, Xiaohong Yao7, and Wenxing Wang1 Yujiao Zhu et al.
  • 1Environment Research Institute, Shandong University, Qingdao 266237, China
  • 2Collaborative innovation Center for climate Change, Jiangsu Province, Nanjing 210023, China
  • 3Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012, China
  • 4Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention (LAP3), Department of Environmental Science & Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 5Taishan National Reference Climatological Station, Tai'an 271000, China
  • 6Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
  • 7Key Lab of Marine Environmental Science and Ecology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China

Abstract. Because anthropogenic sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions have decreased considerably in the last decade, PM2.5 pollution in China has been alleviated to some extent. However, the effects of reduced SO2 on the particle number concentrations and subsequent contributions of grown new particles to the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) populations, particularly at high altitude with low aerosol number loadings, are poorly understood. In this study, we evaluated the campaign-based measurements made at the summit of Mt. Tai (1534 m a.s.l.) from 2007 to 2018. With the decrease in the SO2 mixing ratios from 15 ± 13 ppb in 2007 to 1.6 ± 1.6 ppb in 2018, the formation rate of new particles (FR) and the net maximum increase in the nucleation-mode particle number concentration (NMINP) increased by 2–3 fold in 2018 against those in 2007. In contrast, the occurrence frequency of new particle formation (NPF) events in which the maximum geometric median diameter of grown new particles (Dpgmax) was > 50 nm decreased considerably from 43 %–78 % of the NPF events before 2015 to < 12 % in 2017–2018. Assuming > 50 nm as a CCN threshold size at high supersaturations, the observed net CCN production decreased from 3703 cm−3 (on average) before 2015 to 1026 cm−3 (on average) in 2017–2018. We argue that the increase in the FR and NMINP is mainly determined by the availability of organic precursors that participate in nucleation and initial growth, whereas the decrease in the growth probability is caused by the reduced emissions of anthropogenic precursors. However, large uncertainties still exist because of a lack of data on the chemical composition of these smaller particles.

Yujiao Zhu et al.

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Yujiao Zhu et al.


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Short summary
This work investigates the long-term changes in the new particle formation (NPF) events under reduced SO2 emissions at the summit of Mt. Tai, during seven campaigns from 2007 to 2018. We found the NPF intensity increased by 2–3 fold in 2018 against those in 2007. In contrast, the probability of new particles growing to the CCN size was largely decreased. The changes of the biogenic VOCs and anthropogenic emissions were proposed to explain the distinct NPF characteristics.
This work investigates the long-term changes in the new particle formation (NPF) events under...