Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-414
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-414

  04 Sep 2020

04 Sep 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

An Analysis of New Particle Formation (NPF) at Thirteen European Sites

Dimitrios Bousiotis1, Francis D. Pope1, David C. Beddows1, Manuel Dall’Osto2, Andreas Massling3, Jacob Klenø Nøjgaard3, Claus Nørdstrom3, Jarkko V. Niemi4, Harri Portin4, Tuukka Petäjä5, Noemi Perez6, Andrés Alastuey6, Xavier Querol6, Giorgos Kouvarakis7, Stergios Vratolis8, Konstantinos Eleftheriadis8, Alfred Wiedensohler9, Kay Weinhold9, Maik Merkel9, Thomas Tuch9, and Roy M. Harrison1,10 Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.
  • 1Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom
  • 2Institute of Marine Sciences Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49, E-08003, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Department for Environmental Science, Aarhus University, DK-400, Roskilde, Denmark
  • 4Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) FI-00066 HSY, Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR) / Physics, Faculty of Science University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 6Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA - CSIC) 08034, Barcelona, Spain
  • 7Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory (ECPL), Department of Chemistry University of Crete, 70013, Heraklion, Greece
  • 8Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory Institute of Nuclear and Radiological Science & Technology, Energy & Safety NCSR Demokritos, Athens, Greece
  • 9Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 10Department of Environmental Sciences / Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80203, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. New particle formation (NPF) events occur almost everywhere in the world and can play an important role as a particle source. The frequency and characteristics of NPF events vary spatially and this variability is yet to be fully understood. In the present study, long term particle size distribution datasets (minimum of three years) from thirteen sites of various land uses and climates from across Europe were studied and NPF events, deriving from secondary formation and not traffic related nucleation, were extracted and analysed. The frequency of NPF events was consistently found to be higher at rural background sites, while the growth and formation rates of newly formed particles were higher at roadsides, underlining the importance of the abundance of condensable compounds of anthropogenic origin found there. The growth rate was higher in summer at all rural background sites studied. The urban background sites presented the highest uncertainty due to greater variability compared to the other two types of site. The origin of incoming air masses and the specific conditions associated with them greatly affect the characteristics of NPF events. In general, cleaner air masses present higher probability for NPF events, while the more polluted ones show higher growth rates. However, different patterns of NPF events were found even at sites in close proximity (< 200 km) due to the different local conditions at each site. Region-wide events were also studied and were found to be associated with the same conditions as local events, although some variability was found which was associated with the different seasonality of the events at two neighbouring sites. NPF events were responsible for an increase in the number concentration of ultrafine particles of more than 400 % at rural background sites on the day of their occurrence. The degree of enhancement was less at urban sites due to the increased contribution of other sources within the urban environment. It is evident that, while some variables (such as solar radiation intensity, relative humidity or the concentrations of specific pollutants) appear to have a similar influence on NPF events across all sites, it is impossible to predict the characteristics of NPF events at a site using just these variables, due to the crucial role of local conditions.

Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.

 
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Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.

Data sets

Meteorological conditions and atmospheric composition data from 13 sites in Europe Roy M. Harrison and Dimitrios Bousiotis https://doi.org/10.25500/edata.bham.00000467

Dimitrios Bousiotis et al.

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Short summary
Formation of new particles is a key process in the atmosphere. New Particle Formation events arising from nucleation of gaseous precursors have been analysed in extensive datasets from thirteen sites in five European countries in terms of frequency, nucleation rate and particle growth rate, with several common features and many differences identified. Although nucleation frequencies are lower at roadside sites, nucleation rates and particle growth rates are typically higher.
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