Characterization of the inter-annual, seasonal, and diurnal variations of condensation particle concentrations at Neumayer, Antarctica
1Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling, Germany
3Institut für Umweltphysik, University Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
4Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany
*now at: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Flugexperimente, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling, Germany
Abstract. Continuous condensation particle (CP) observations were conducted from 1984 through 2009 at Neumayer Station under stringent contamination control. During this period, the CP concentration (median 258 cm−3) showed no significant long term trend but exhibited a pronounced seasonality characterized by a stepwise increase starting in September and reaching its annual maximum of around 103 cm−3 in March. Minimum values below 102 cm−3 were observed during June/July. Dedicated time series analyses in the time and frequency domain revealed no significant correlations between inter-annual CP concentration variations and atmospheric circulation indices like Southern Annular Mode (SAM) or Southern Ocean Index (SOI). The impact of the Pinatubo volcanic eruption and strong El Niño events did not affect CP concentrations. From thermodenuder experiments we deduced that the portion of volatile (at 125 °C) and semi-volatile (at 250 °C) particles which could be both associated with biogenic sulfur aerosol, was maximum during austral summer, while during winter non-volatile sea salt particles dominated. During September through April we could frequently detect nucleation events which occurred preferentially in the afternoon. Over the year, roughly 20 % of the particles could be assigned to the nucleation mode between 3 nm and 7 nm particle diameter.