Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 4, 4507-4543, 2004
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/4/4507/2004/
doi:10.5194/acpd-4-4507-2004
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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.
An investigation of processes controlling the evolution of the boundary layer aerosol size distribution properties at the Swedish background station Aspvreten
P. Tunved, J. Ström, and H.-C. Hansson
Institute for Applied Environmental Research, Stockholm University, SE-106 91, Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract. Aerosol size distributions have been measured at the Swedish background station Aspvreten (58.8° N, 17.4° E). Different states of the aerosol were determined using a novel application of cluster analysis. The analysis resulted in eight different clusters capturing the different stages of the aerosol lifecycle. The aerosol was interpreted as belonging to fresh, intermediate and aged type of size distribution and different magnitudes thereof. With aid of back trajectory analysis we present statistics concerning the relation of source area and different meteorological parameters using a non-lagrangian approach. Source area is argued to be important although not sufficient to describe the observed aerosol properties. Especially processing by clouds and precipitation is shown to be crucial for the evolution of the aerosol size distribution. As much as 60% of the observed size distributions present features likely related to cloud processes or wet deposition. The lifetime properties of different sized aerosols are discussed by means of measured variability. Processing by non-precipitating clouds most obviously affect aerosols in the size range 100 nm and larger. This indicates an approximate limit for activation in clouds to 100 nm in this type of environment. The aerosol lifecycle is discussed. Size distributions bearing signs of recent new particle formation (~30% of the observed size distributions) represent the first stage in the lifecycle. Aging may proceed in two directions: either growth by condensation and coagulation or processing by non-precipitating clouds. In both cases mass is accumulated. Wet removal is the main process capable of removing aerosol mass. Wet deposition is argued to be an important mechanism in reaching a state where nucleation may occur (i.e. sufficiently low aerosol surface area) in environments similar to the one studied.

Citation: Tunved, P., Ström, J., and Hansson, H.-C.: An investigation of processes controlling the evolution of the boundary layer aerosol size distribution properties at the Swedish background station Aspvreten, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 4, 4507-4543, doi:10.5194/acpd-4-4507-2004, 2004.
 
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