Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 8, 15791-15824, 2008
© Author(s) 2008. 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.
Seasonal variation of aerosol size distribution at Puy de Dôme (1465 m a.s.l., central France)
H. Venzac, K. Sellegri, P. Villani, D. Picard, and P. Laj
Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand, Université Blaise Pascal, 24 avenue des Landais, 63177 Aubière, France

Abstract. Particle number concentration and size distribution are amongst the most important variables needed to constrain the role of the atmospheric particles in the Earth radiative budget. They are also linked to regulated variables such as particle mass (PM) and therefore of interest to air quality studies. However, data on their long-term variability are scarce, in particular at high altitudes where the occurrence of aerosol in elevated layers cannot be resolved from most instruments in space. Therefore it is crucial to provide ground based measurements of suited aerosol variables to obtain closure between all independent information sources. In this paper, we investigate diurnal and seasonal variability of aerosol number concentration and size distribution at the Puy de Dôme research station (France, 1465 m a.s.l.). We report variability of aerosol particle total number concentration measured over a five years (2003–2007) period and aerosol size distributions over a one year period (January to December 2006). Concentrations show a strong seasonality with maxima during summer and minima during winter. A diurnal variation is also observed with maxima between 12:00 and 18:00 UTC. At night (00:00–06:00 UTC), the median hourly total concentration varies from 600 to 800 cm−3 during winter and from 1700 to 2200 cm−3 during summer. During the day (08:00–18:00 UTC), the concentration is in the range of 700 to 1400 cm−3 during winter and from 2500 to 3500 cm−3 during summer. An averaged size distribution of particles (10–500 nm) was calculated for each season. A variability in the size of aerosols sampled at the Puy de Dôme is also observed on the seasonal and diurnal basis. Because the site lies in the free troposphere only a fraction of the time, in particular at night and during the winter season, we have subsequently analyzed the variability for free tropospheric conditions only. We show that the variability is due to both seasonal changes in air mass origin from winter to summer and enhanced concentration of the free troposphere in summer. The later observation can be explained by higher emission intensity in the boundary layer, stronger exchange between the boundary layer and the free troposphere as well as enhanced photochemical processes. Finally, aerosol mean size distributions are calculated for a given air mass type (marine/continental/regional) according to the season, for the specific conditions of the free troposphere. These results are of regional relevance and can be used to constrain chemical-transport models over Western Europe.

Citation: Venzac, H., Sellegri, K., Villani, P., Picard, D., and Laj, P.: Seasonal variation of aerosol size distribution at Puy de Dôme (1465 m a.s.l., central France), Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 8, 15791-15824, doi:10.5194/acpd-8-15791-2008, 2008.
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