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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Apr 2018

Research article | 12 Apr 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

Global analysis of continental boundary layer new particle formation based on long-term measurements

Tuomo Nieminen1,2, Veli-Matti Kerminen1, Tuukka Petäjä1, Pasi P. Aalto1, Mikhail Arshinov3, Eija Asmi4, Urs Baltensperger5, David C. S. Beddows6, Johan Paul Beukes7, Don Collins8, Aijun Ding9, Roy M. Harrison6,10, Bas Henzing11, Rakesh Hooda4,12, Min Hu13, Urmas Hõrrak14, Niku Kivekäs4, Kaupo Komsaare14, Radovan Krejci15, Adam Kristensson16, Lauri Laakso4,7, Ari Laaksonen4,2, W. Richard Leaitch17, Heikki Lihavainen4, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos18, Zoltán Németh19, Wei Nie9, Colin O'Dowd20, Imre Salma19, Karine Sellegri21, Birgitta Svenningsson16, Erik Swietlicki16, Peter Tunved15, Vidmantas Ulevicius22, Ville Vakkari4, Marko Vana14, Alfred Wiedensohler23, Zhijun Wu13, Annele Virtanen2, and Markku Kulmala1,9,24 Tuomo Nieminen et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
  • 3V.E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics SB RAS, Tomsk, Russia
  • 4Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 5Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
  • 6School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  • 7Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • 8Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, USA
  • 9Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • 10Department of Environmental Sciences/Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80203, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia
  • 11Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 12The Energy and Resources Institute, IHC, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India
  • 13State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 14Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
  • 15Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry & Bolin Centre of Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 16Department of Physics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • 17Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 18Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
  • 19Institute of Chemistry, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 20School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland
  • 21Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand, Université Clermont-Auvergne, CNRS UMR6016, Aubière, France
  • 22Department of Environmental Research, SRI Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 23Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 24Aerosol and Haze Laboratory, Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Soft Matter Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing, China

Abstract. Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) is an important phenomenon in terms of the global particle number concentrations. Here we investigated the frequency of NPF, formation rates of 10nm particles and growth rates in the size range of 10–25nm using at least one year of aerosol number size-distribution observations at 36 different locations around the world. The majority of these measurement sites are in the Northern Hemisphere. We found that the NPF frequency has a strong seasonal variability, taking place on about 30% of the days in March–May and on about 10% of the days in December–February. The median formation rate of 10nm particles varies by about three orders of magnitude (0.01–10cm−3s−1) and the growth rate by about an order of magnitude (1–10nmh−1). The smallest values of both formation and growth rates were observed at polar sites and the largest ones in urban environments or anthropogenically influenced rural sites. The correlation between the NPF event frequency and the particle formation and growth rate was at best moderate between the different measurement sites, as well as between the sites belonging to a certain environmental regime. For a better understanding of atmospheric NPF and its regional importance, we would need more observational data from different urban areas in practically all parts of the world, from additional remote and rural locations in Northern America, Asia and most of the Southern Hemisphere (especially Australia), from polar areas, and from at least a few locations over the oceans.

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Tuomo Nieminen et al.
Tuomo Nieminen et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Atmospheric aerosols have diverse effects on air quality, human health, and global climate. One important source of aerosols is their formation of via nucleation and growth in the atmosphere. We have analyzed long-term observations of regional new particle formation events around the globe, and provide a comprehensive view on the characteristics of this phenomenon in diverse environments. The results are useful in developing more realistic representation of atmospheric aerosols in global models.
Atmospheric aerosols have diverse effects on air quality, human health, and global climate. One...