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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acpd-15-25231-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acpd-15-25231-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 16 Sep 2015

Research article | 16 Sep 2015

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Towards a first classification of aerosol shrinkage events

E. Alonso-Blanco1, F. J. Gómez-Moreno1, L. Núñez1, M. Pujadas1, M. Cusack2, and B. Artíñano1 E. Alonso-Blanco et al.
  • 1Research Center for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT), Avenida Complutense 40, 28040 Madrid, Spain
  • 2Insitute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of the CAS, v.v.i., Rozvojova 135, 165 02, Prague 6, Czech Republic

Abstract. This work presents for the first time a classification of shrinkage events based on the aerosol processes that precede them. To this end, 3.5 years of continuous measurements (from 2009 to 2012) of aerosol size distributions, obtained with a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS) at an urban background site in Southern Europe, have been interpreted.

48 shrinkage events were identified and analysed, all occurring during spring and summer when the atmospheric conditions are more favourable for their development. In this study the shrinkage events took place mostly towards the end of the day, and their occurrence could be associated to atmospheric dilution conditions and a reduction in photochemical activity. The shrinkage rate (SR) varied between −1.0 and −11.1 nm h−1 (average value of −4.7 ± 2.6 nm h−1). Changes in particle concentrations corresponding to the nucleation and Aitken modes were detected, whereby an increase in the number of particles in the nucleation mode often coincided with a reduction in the Aitken mode. The accumulation mode did not undergo significant changes during these processes. In addition, in some cases, a dilution of the total particle number concentration in the ambient air was observed.

Following the proposed methodology, three groups of events have been identified: Group I (NPF + shrinkage), Group II (aerosol growth process + shrinkage) and Group III (pure shrinkage events). The largest number of shrinkage events has been observed in the absence of prior processes, i.e. pure shrinkage events, followed by Group I events and finally Group II events.

Although this analysis has confirmed that the triggering of shrinkage events is clearly linked to the atmospheric situation and the characteristics of the measurement area, this classification may contribute to a better understanding of the processes involved and the features that characterize shrinkage events.

E. Alonso-Blanco et al.
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
E. Alonso-Blanco et al.
E. Alonso-Blanco et al.
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