Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 25427-25471, 2011
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/11/25427/2011/
doi:10.5194/acpd-11-25427-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
First size-dependent growth rate measurements of 1 to 5 nm freshly formed atmospheric nuclei
C. Kuang1, M. Chen2, J. Zhao3, J. Smith3, P. H. McMurry2, and J. Wang1
1Atmospheric Sciences Division, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Building 815E, Upton, NY, 11973, USA
2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, 1100 Mechanical Engineering, 111 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
3Atmospheric Chemistry Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO, 80307, USA

Abstract. This study presents the first measurements of size-dependent particle diameter growth rates for freshly nucleated particles down to 1 nm geometric diameter. Data analysis methods were developed, de-coupling the size and time-dependence of particle growth rates by fitting the aerosol general dynamic equation to size distributions obtained at an instant in time. Size distributions of freshly nucleated particles were measured during two intensive measurement campaigns in different environments (Atlanta, GA and Boulder, CO) using a recently developed electrical mobility spectrometer with a diethylene glycol-based ultrafine condensation particle counter as the detector. Size and time-dependent growth rates were obtained directly from measured size distributions and were found to increase approximately linearly with size from ~1 to 3 nm geometric diameter, ranging, for example, from 5.6 ± 2.0 to 27 ± 5.3 nm h−1 in Boulder (13:00) and from 5.5 ± 0.82 to 7.6 ± 0.56 nm h−1 in Atlanta (13:00). The resulting growth rate enhancement Γ, defined as the ratio of the observed growth rate to the growth rate due to the condensation of sulfuric acid only, was found to increase approximately linearly with size from ~1 to 3 nm geometric diameter, having lower limit values that approached ~1 at 1.2 nm geometric diameter in Atlanta and ~3 at 0.8 nm geometric diameter in Boulder, and having upper limit values that reached 8.3 at 4.1 nm geometric diameter in Atlanta and 25 at 2.7 nm geometric diameter in Boulder. Survival probability calculations comparing constant and size-dependent growth indicate that neglecting the strong growth rate size dependence from 1 to 3 nm observed in this study could lead to a significant overestimation of CCN survival probability.

Citation: Kuang, C., Chen, M., Zhao, J., Smith, J., McMurry, P. H., and Wang, J.: First size-dependent growth rate measurements of 1 to 5 nm freshly formed atmospheric nuclei, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 25427-25471, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-25427-2011, 2011.
 
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