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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-162
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 Apr 2018

Research article | 20 Apr 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Exploring nonlinear associations between atmospheric new-particle formation and ambient variables: an information theoretic approach

Martha A. Zaidan1,2,3, Ville Haapasilta3, Rishi Relan4, Pauli Paasonen1, Veli-Matti Kerminen1, Heikki Junninen1,5, Markku Kulmala1,6, and Adam S. Foster3,7,8 Martha A. Zaidan et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Helsinki University, FI-00560, Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Aalto Science Institute, School of Science, Aalto University, FI-00076, Espoo, Finland
  • 3Dept. of Applied Physics, Aalto University, FI-00076, Espoo, Finland
  • 4Dept. of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
  • 5Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Ülikooli 18, EE-50090 Tartu, Estonia
  • 6Aerosol and Haze laboratory, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, 100096 Beijing, China
  • 7WPI Nano Life Science Institute (WPI-NanoLSI), Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan
  • 8Graduate School Materials Science in Mainz, Staudinger Weg 9, 55128, Germany

Abstract. Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) is a very non-linear process that includes atmospheric chemistry of pre-cursors and clustering physics as well as subsequent growth before NPF can be observed. Thanks to ongoing efforts, now there exists a tremendous amount of atmospheric data, obtained through continuous measurements directly from the atmosphere. This fact makes the analysis by human brains difficult, but on the other hand enables to usage of modern data science techniques. Here, we calculate and explore the mutual information between observed NPF events (measured at Hyytiälä, Finland) and a wide variety of simultaneously monitored ambient variables: trace gas and aerosol particle concentrations, meteorology, radiation and a few derived quantities. The purpose of the investigations is to identify key factors contributing to the NPF. The applied mutual information method finds that the formation events correlate with sulfuric acid concentration and water content, ultraviolet radiation, condensation sink and temperature. Previously, these quantities have been well-established to be important players in the phenomenon via dedicated field, laboratory and theoretical research. The novelty of this work is to demonstrate that the same results are now obtained by a data analysis method which operates without supervision and physical insight. This suggests that the method is suitable to be implemented widely in the atmospheric field to discover other interesting phenomena and its relevant variables.

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Short summary
This article promotes the use of mutual information method for finding any non-linear associations among atmospheric variables. We demonstrate that the same results from previous studies are obtained by this method which operates without supervision and physical insight. This suggests that the method is suitable to be implemented widely in the atmospheric field to discover other interesting phenomena and its relevant variables.
This article promotes the use of mutual information method for finding any non-linear...
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