New particle formation and ultrafine charged aerosol climatology at a high altitude site in the Alps (Jungfraujoch, 3580 m a.s.l., Switzerland)
1Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique CNRS UMR 6016, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand, Université Blaise Pascal, France
2Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, PSI, Switzerland
3Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement, CNRS UMR5183, Saint Martin d'Héres, France
*now at: Weather Measures, Aubière, France
Abstract. Aerosol nucleation is an important source of atmospheric particles which have an effect both on the climatic system and on human health. The new particle formation (NPF) process is an ubiquitous phenomenon, yet poorly understood despite the many studies performed on this topic using various approaches (observation, experimentation in smog chambers and modeling). In this work, we investigate the formation of secondary charged aerosols and its climatology at Jungfraujoch, a high altitude site in Swiss Alps (3580 m a.s.l.). Charged particles and clusters (0.5–1.8 nm) were measured within the EUCAARI program from April 2008 to April 2009 and allowed the detection of nucleation events. We found that the aerosol concentration, which is dominated by cluster size class, shows a strong diurnal pattern and that the aerosol size distribution and concentration are strongly influenced by the presence of clouds either during daytime or nighttime conditions. New particle formation events have been investigated and it appears that new particle formation occurs 17.5% of measured days and that the nucleation frequency is strongly linked to air mass origin and path and negatively influenced by cloud presence. In fact, we show that NPF events depend on the occurrence of high concentration VOCs air masses which allowed clusters growing by condensation of organic vapors rather than nucleation of new clusters. Furthermore, the contribution of ions to nucleation process was studied and we found that ion-mediated nucleation (IMN) contribute to 26% of the total nucleation so that ions play an important role in the new particle formation and growth at Jungfraujoch.