05 Aug 2022
05 Aug 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Survival probabilities of atmospheric particles: comparison based on theory, cluster population simulations, and observations in Beijing

Santeri Tuovinen1, Runlong Cai1, Veli-Matti Kerminen1, Markku Kulmala1, Jingkun Jiang3, Chao Yan1,4, and Jenni Kontkanen1,2 Santeri Tuovinen et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2CSC – IT Center for Science, Espoo, Finland
  • 3State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • 4Joint International research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Research (JirLATEST), School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Abstract. Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) events are regularly observed in urban Beijing, despite high concentrations of background particles which, based on theory, should inhibit NPF due to high values of coagulation sink (CoagS). The survival probability, which depends on both CoagS and particle growth rate (GR) is a key parameter in determining occurrence of NPF events, as it describes the fraction of newly formed particles that survive from a smaller diameter to a larger diameter. In this study, we investigate and compare survival probabilities from 1.5 to 3 nm (J3/J1.5), from 3 to 6 nm (J6/J3) and from 6 to 10 nm (J10/J6) based on analytical formulae, cluster population simulations, and atmospheric observations from Beijing. We find that survival probabilities based on the cluster population simulations and one of the analytical formulae are in a good agreement. However, at low ratios between the background condensation sink (CS) and GR, and at high concentrations of sub-3 nm clusters, cluster-cluster collisions efficiently lower survival probabilities in the cluster population simulations. Due to the large concentrations of clusters and small particles required to considerably affect the survival probabilities, we consider it unlikely that cluster-cluster collisions significantly affect atmospheric survival probabilities. The values of J10/J6 observed in Beijing show high variability, most likely due to influences of primary particle emissions, but are on average in a relatively good agreement with the values based on the simulations and the analytical formula. The observed values of J6/J3 are mostly lower than those predicted based on the simulations and the analytical formula, which could be explained by uncertainties in CS and GR. The observed values of J3/J1.5 at high CS/GR are much higher than predicted based on the simulations and the analytical formula. We argue that uncertainties in GR or CS are unlikely to solely explain the observed values of J3/J1.5 under high CS conditions. Thus, further work is needed to better understand the factors influencing survival probabilities of sub-3 nm atmospheric particles in polluted environments.

Santeri Tuovinen et al.

Status: open (until 16 Sep 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Santeri Tuovinen et al.

Santeri Tuovinen et al.


Total article views: 114 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
94 16 4 114 2 1
  • HTML: 94
  • PDF: 16
  • XML: 4
  • Total: 114
  • BibTeX: 2
  • EndNote: 1
Views and downloads (calculated since 05 Aug 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 05 Aug 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 112 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 112 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 08 Aug 2022
Short summary
We compare observed survival probabilities of atmospheric particles from Beijing, China to survival probabilities based on analytical formulae and model simulations. We find observed survival probabilities under polluted conditions at smaller sizes to be higher, while at larger sizes they are lower or similar, than theoretical survival probabilities. Uncertainties in condensation sink and growth rate are found unlikely to explain higher-than-predicted survival probabilities at smaller sizes.