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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
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Research article 11 Apr 2018

Research article | 11 Apr 2018

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

Formation and growth of atmospheric nanoparticles in the eastern Mediterranean: Results from long-term measurements and process simulations

Nikos Kalivitis1,2, Veli-Matti Kerminen3, Giorgos Kouvarakis1, Iasonas Stavroulas1,4, Evaggelia Tzitzikalaki1, Panayiotis Kalkavouras1,5, Nikos Daskalakis1,6, Stelios Myriokefalitakis5,7, Aikaterini Bougiatioti5, Hanna Elina Manninen8, Pontus Roldin9, Tuukka Petäjä3, Michael Boy3, Markku Kulmala3, Maria Kanakidou1, and Nikolaos Mihalopoulos1,5 Nikos Kalivitis et al.
  • 1Environmental Chemical Processes Laboratory, Ch emistry Department, University of Crete, 70013, Heraklion, Greece
  • 2Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, I. Metaxa & Vas. Pavlou, 15236 Palea Penteli, Greece
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research, Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2, P. O. Box 64, FI - 00014 University of Helsinki
  • 4Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia 2121, Cyprus
  • 5Institute for Environmental Research & Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, I. Metaxa & Vas. Pavlou, 15236 Palea Penteli, Greece
  • 6Laboratory for Modeling and Observation of the Earth System (LAMOS), Institute of Environmental Physics ( IUP), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 7Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (IMAU): Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 8Experimental Physics Department, CERN, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
  • 9Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Abstract. Atmospheric New Particle Formation (NPF) is a common phenomenon all over the world. In this study we present the longest time series of NPF records in the eastern Mediterranean region by analyzing seven years of aerosol number size distribution data obtained with a mobility particle sizer. The measurements were performed at the Finokalia environmental research station on Crete, Greece during the period June 2008–June 2015. We found that NPF took place 29% of the available days, undefined days were 26% and non-event days 45%. NPF is more frequent in April and May probably due to the biogenic activity and is less frequent in August and November. The NPF frequency increased during the measurement period, while particle growth rates showed a decreasing trend, indicating possible changes in the ambient sulfur dioxide concentrations in the area. Throughout the period under study, we frequently observed production of particles in the nucleation mode during night-time, a feature rarely observed in the ambient atmosphere. Nucleation mode particles had the highest concentration in winter, mainly because of the minimum sinks, and their average contribution to the total particle number concentration was 9%. Nucleation mode particle concentrations were low outside periods of active NPF and growth, so there are hardly any other local sources of sub-25nm particles. Additional atmospheric ion size distribution data simultaneously collected for more than two years period were also analyzed. Classification of NPF events based on ion measurements differed from the corresponding classification based on mobility spectrometer measurements, possibly indicating a different representation of local and regional NPF events between these two measurement data sets. We used MALTE-box model for a simulation case study of NPF in the eastern Mediterranean region. Monoterpenes contributing to NPF can explain a large fraction of the observed NPF events according to our model simulations. However the parametrization that resulted after sensitivity tests was significantly different from the one applied for the boreal environment.

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Nikos Kalivitis et al.
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Short summary
New particle formation (NPF) is an important source of atmospheric aerosols. For the Mediterranean atmosphere only few studies exist. In this study we present the longest time series of NPF in the region by analyzing seven years of data from Crete, Greece. NPF took place 29 % of the available days. Financial crisis may have reduced the rate the new particles grow to larger sizes. Model simulations showed that NPF in the sub-tropical environment may differ greatly than in the boreal environment.
New particle formation (NPF) is an important source of atmospheric aerosols. For the...