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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-394
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-394
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  03 Jun 2020

03 Jun 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

New particle formation at urban and high-altitude remote sites in the south-eastern Iberian Peninsula

Juan Andrés Casquero-Vera1,2, Hassan Lyamani1,2, Lubna Dada3, Simo Hakala3, Pauli Paasonen3, Roberto Román4, Roberto Fraile5, Tuukka Petäjä3, Francisco José Olmo-Reyes1,2, and Lucas Alados-Arboledas1,2 Juan Andrés Casquero-Vera et al.
  • 1Andalusian Institute for Earth System Research (IISTA-CEAMA), University of Granada, Autonomous Government of Andalusia, Granada, Spain
  • 2Department of Applied Physics, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Grupo de Óptica Atmosférica (GOA), Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid, 47011, Spain
  • 5Department of Physics, University of Leon, Leon, Spain

Abstract. A substantial fraction of the atmospheric aerosols originates from secondary new particle formation (NPF), where atmospheric vapours are transformed into particles that subsequently grow to larger sizes, affecting human health and the climate. In this study, we investigate aerosol size distributions at two stations located close to each other (~ 20 km), but at different altitudes: urban (UGR; 680 m a.s.l.) and high-altitude remote (SNS; 2500 m a.s.l.) site, both in the area of Granada, Spain, and part of AGORA observatory (Andalusian Global ObseRvatory of the Atmosphere). The analysis shows a significant contribution of nucleation mode aerosol particles to the total aerosol number concentration at both sites, with a contribution of 47 % and 48 % at SNS and UGR, respectively. Due to the important contribution of NPF events to the total aerosol number concentrations and their high occurrence frequency (> 70 %) during the study period, a detailed analysis of NPF events is done in order to get insight into the possible mechanisms and processes involved in NPF events at these contrastive sites. At SNS, NPF is found to be associated with the transport of gaseous precursors from lower altitudes by orographic buoyant upward flows. However, NPF events at SNS site are always observed from the smallest measured sizes of the aerosol size distribution (4 nm), implying that NPF takes place in or in the vicinity of the high-altitude SNS station rather than transported from lower altitudes. Although NPF events at the mountain site seem to be connected with those occurring at the urban site, growth rates (GR) at SNS are higher than those at UGR site (GR7–25 of 6.9 and 4.5 nm h−1 and GR4–7 of 4.1 and 3.6 nm h−1 at SNS and UGR, respectively). This fact could have a special importance on the production of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and therefore on cloud formations which may affect regional/global climate, since larger GR at mountain sites could be translated to larger survival probability of NPF particles to reach CCN sizes, due to shorter time needed for the growth. The analysis of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) shows that the contribution of H2SO4 is able to explain a minimal fraction contribution to the observed GRs at both sites (< 1 % and < 10 % for 7–25 and 4–7 nm size range, respectively), indicating that other condensing vapours are responsible for the majority of particle growth, as well as the differing growth rates between the two sites. Results also show that the condensation sink (CS) does not play a relevant role in NPF processes at both sites and points to the availability of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as one of the main factors controlling the NPF events at both sites. Finally, a closer analysis of the NPF events that were observed at SNS site during a Saharan dust episode that occurred during the field campaign was carried out, evidencing the role of TiO2 and F2O3 together with VOCs in promoting new particle formation during this dust intrusion event. Although further investigation is needed to improve our understanding in this topic, this result suggests that climate effects of mineral dust and NPF are not disconnected from each other as it was commonly thought. Therefore, since mineral dust contributes to a major fraction of the global aerosol mass load, dust-NPF interaction should be taken into account in global aerosol-climate modelling for better climate change prediction.

Juan Andrés Casquero-Vera et al.

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Juan Andrés Casquero-Vera et al.

Juan Andrés Casquero-Vera et al.

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Short summary
New particle formation was investigated at two stations located close to each other, but at different altitudes: urban and high-altitude site. Results show that sulfuric acid is able to explain a minimal fraction contribution to the observed growth rates and point to the availability of volatile organic compounds as the main factor controlling NPF events at both sites. A closer analysis of the NPF events that were observed at high-altitude site during a Saharan dust episode was carried out.
New particle formation was investigated at two stations located close to each other, but at...
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