20 Apr 2021

20 Apr 2021

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

Cloud droplet activation in a continental Central European urban environment

Imre Salma1, Wanda Thén2, Máté Vörösmarty2, and András Zénó Gyöngyösi1 Imre Salma et al.
  • 1Institute of Chemistry, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2Hevesy György Ph. D. School of Chemistry, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary

Abstract. Collocated measurements by condensation particle counter, differential mobility particle sizer and cloud condensational nuclei counter instruments were realised in parallel in central Budapest from 15 April 2019 to 14 April 2020 to gain insight into the droplet activation behaviour of urban aerosol particles. The median total particle number concentration was 10.1 × 103 cm−3. The median concentrations of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) at water vapour supersaturations (Ss) of 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 and 1.0 % were 0.59, 1.09, 1.39, 1.80 and 2.5 × 103 cm−3, respectively. They represented from 7 to 27 % of the total particles. The effective critical dry particle diameters (dc,eff) were derived utilising the CCN concentrations and particle number size distributions. Their medians were 207, 149, 126, 105 and 80 nm, respectively. They were all positioned within the accumulation mode of the typical particle number size distribution. Their frequency distributions revealed a single peak, which geometric standard deviation increased monotonically with S. The broadening indicated larger time variability in the activation properties of smaller particles. The frequency distributions also showed a fine structure. Its several compositional elements seemed to change in a tendentious manner with S. They were related to the size-dependent chemical composition and external mixtures of particles. The relationships between the critical S and dc,eff suggested that the urban aerosol particles in Budapest with a diameter larger than approximately 130 nm showed similar hygroscopicity than the continental aerosol in general, while the smaller particles appeared to be less hygroscopic than that. Seasonal cycling of the CCN concentrations and activation fractions implied modest alterations and for the larger Ss only. They likely reflected the changes in particle number concentrations, chemical composition and mixing state of particles. The seasonal dependencies for dc,eff were featureless, which indicated that the urban particles exhibited more or less similar droplet activation properties over the measurement year. This is different from non-urban locations. The hygroscopicity parameters (κ values) were computed without determining time-dependent chemical composition of particles. Their medians were 0.16, 0.10, 0.07, 0.04 and 0.02, respectively. The averages suggested that the larger particles exhibited considerably higher hygroscopicity than the smaller particles. The urban aerosol was characterised by substantially smaller kappa values than for regional or remote locations. All these could be virtually linked to specific source composition in cities. The relatively large variability in the hygroscopicity parameter sets for a given S emphasized that their individual values represented the CCN population in the ambient air, while the averages stood mainly for the particles with a size close to the effective critical dry particle diameters.

Imre Salma et al.

Status: open (until 15 Jun 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-305', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 May 2021 reply

Imre Salma et al.


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Short summary
We discussed cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) and heir properties in this study. The CCN modify the intensity and other properties of the sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. It is achieved primarily through the droplet number, droplet size and cloud residence time. They also influence the hydrological cycle including the precipitation amount and intensity, the vegetation and its interactions with the carbon cycle as well as the atmospheric chemistry, physics and dynamics.