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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-902
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
17 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Experimental study of H2SO4 aerosol nucleation at high ionization levels
Maja Tomicic, Martin Bødker Enghoff, and Henrik Svensmark National Space Institute, Danish Technical University, Elektrovej 327, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
Abstract. One hundred and ten direct measurements of aerosol nucleation rate at high ionization levels were performed in an 8 m3 reaction chamber. Neutral and ion-induced particle formation from sulphuric acid (H2SO4) as a function of ionization and H2SO4 concentration was studied. Other species that could participate in the nucleation were not measured. The measurements extend the parameter space of measurements described by (Dunne, 2016) (at T = 295 K and RH = 38 %) by expanding to lower H2SO4 concentrations (4x106–3x107 cm−3) and higher ion concentrations (1700–19000 cm−3). The ion concentrations, which correspond to levels caused by a nearby supernova, were achieved with gamma ray sources. Nucleation rates were directly measured with a particle size magnifier (PSM Airmodus A10) at a size close to critical cluster size (mobility diameter of ~ 1.4 nm) and formation rates at mobility diameter of ~ 4 nm were measured with a CPC (TSI model 3775). The measurements show that nucleation increases by around a factor of five when the ionization increases from background to supernova levels under fixed gas conditions. The results expand the parametrization from (Dunne, 2016) to lower sulphuric acid concentrations and higher ion concentrations.

Citation: Tomicic, M., Bødker Enghoff, M., and Svensmark, H.: Experimental study of H2SO4 aerosol nucleation at high ionization levels, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-902, in review, 2017.
Maja Tomicic et al.
Maja Tomicic et al.
Maja Tomicic et al.

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Short summary
A supernova within a distance of about 100 pc from Earth would increase the atmospheric ionization as a result of the increase in cosmic ray flux. We study the impact of high ion concentrations on aerosol nucleation through experiments. The measurements show that nucleation increases by a factor of five when the ionization increases from background to supernova levels under fixed concentrations of the nucleating gas. This suggests that a supernova could influence the atmospheric micro physics.
A supernova within a distance of about 100 pc from Earth would increase the atmospheric...
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