Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-266
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-266

  04 May 2021

04 May 2021

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

Measurement Report: New particle formation characteristics at an urban and a mountain station in Northern China

Ying Zhou1, Simo Hakala2, Chao Yan1,2, Yang Gao3, Xiaohong Yao3, Biwu Chu4, Tommy Chan2, Juha Kangasluoma1,2, Shahzad Gani2, Jenni Kontkanen2, Pauli Paasonen2, Yongchun Liu1, Tuukka Petäjä2,5, Markku Kulmala1,2, and Lubna Dada2 Ying Zhou et al.
  • 1Aerosol and Haze Laboratory, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, China
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research / Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and Ecology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, China
  • 4State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
  • 5Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences (JirLATEST), Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Abstract. Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) events have attracted increasing attention for their contribution to the global aerosol number budget, and therefore their effects on climate, air quality, and human health. NPF events are regarded as a regional phenomenon, occurring over a large area. However, the spatial variation of NPF intensity has not been investigated in detail by incorporating both urban and regional measurements. Urban environments have more heterogeneous and freshly emitted NPF precursors as compared to environments with less anthropogenic activity. Here, we provide a comparison of NPF event characteristics – NPF event frequency, particle formation rate, and growth rate – by comparing an urban Beijing site and a background mountain site separated by ~80 km from June 14 to July 14, 2019 as well as give insights into the connection between both locations. During the measurement period, 12 and 13 NPF events were observed at the urban and background mountain sites, respectively, with 9 NPF events observed on the same day at both sites. Although the median condensation sink during the first two hours of the common NPF events was around 0.01 s−1 at both sites, there were notable differences in particle formation rates between the two locations (median of 5.42 cm−3 s−1 at the urban site and 1.13 cm−3 s−1 at the mountain site during the first two hours of common NPF events). Yet, the particle growth rates in the 7–15 nm range for common NPF events were comparable (median of 7.6 nm.h−1 at the urban site and 6.5 nm.h−1 at the mountain site as median values). To understand whether the observed events were connected, we compared air mass trajectories as well as meteorological conditions at both stations. Favorable conditions for the occurrence of regional NPF events were largely affected by air mass transport. Overall, our results demonstrate a clear inhomogeneity of regional NPF within a distance of ~100 km, which should be considered in regional-scale aerosol models when estimating the budget of aerosol load and cloud condensation nuclei.

Ying Zhou et al.

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Ying Zhou et al.

Ying Zhou et al.

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Short summary
We characterized the connection between new particle formation (NPF) events in terms of frequency, intensity and growth at a near-highway location in central Beijing and at a background mountain site 200 km away from it. Due to the substantial contribution of NPF to the global aerosol budget, identifying the conditions that promote the occurrence of regional events could help understand their participation on a large scale and would improve their implementation in global models.
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