30 Mar 2022
30 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

On the relation between apparent ion and total particle growth rates in the boreal forest and related chamber experiments

Loïc Gonzalez Carracedo1, Katrianne Lehtipalo2,3, Lauri R. Ahonen2, Nina Sarnela2, Sebastian Holm2, Juha Kangasluoma2, Markku Kulmala2,4,5,6, Paul M. Winkler1, and Dominik Stolzenburg2 Loïc Gonzalez Carracedo et al.
  • 1Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
  • 2Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Finnish Meteorological Institute, 00560 Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Aerosol and Haze Laboratory, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Sciences and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT), Beijing, China
  • 5Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
  • 6Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

Abstract. The understanding of new particle formation and growth processes is critical for evaluating the role of aerosols in climate change. One of the knowledge gaps is the ion-particle interaction during the early growth process, especially in the sub-3 nm range, where direct observations are sparse. While molecular interactions would imply faster growth rates of ions compared to neutral particles, this phenomenon is not widely observed in the atmosphere. Here, we show field measurements in the boreal forest indicating a smaller apparent growth rate of the ion population compared to the total particles. We use aerosol dynamics simulations to demonstrate that this effect can be caused by a changing importance of ion-induced nucleation mechanisms during the day. We further compare these results with chamber experiments under similar conditions, where we demonstrate that this effect critically depends on the abundance of condensable vapors and the related strength of ion-induced nucleation. Our results imply that atmospheric ion growth rate measurements below 3 nm need to be evaluated very carefully as they do not represent condensational growth alone but are influenced by ion-particle population interactions.

Loïc Gonzalez Carracedo et al.

Status: open (until 24 Jun 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-234', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 May 2022 reply

Loïc Gonzalez Carracedo et al.

Loïc Gonzalez Carracedo et al.


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Short summary
Fast nanoparticle growth is essential for the survival of new aerosol particles in the atmosphere and hence their contribution to the climate. We show that using naturally charged ions for growth calculations can cause a significant error. During the diurnal cycle, the importance of ion-induced and neutral nucleation vary, causing the ion-population to have a slower measurable apparent growth. Our results suggest that data from ion spectrometers need to be considered with great care below 3 nm.