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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1123
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1123
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 16 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 16 Dec 2019

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

New Particle Formation and Sub-10 nm Size Distribution Measurements during the A-LIFE field experiment in Paphos, Cyprus

Sophia Brilke1, Nikolaus Fölker1, Thomas Müller2, Konrad Kandler3, Xianda Gong2, Jeff Peischl4,5, Bernadett Weinzierl1, and Paul M. Winkler1 Sophia Brilke et al.
  • 1Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, Vienna, 1090, Austria
  • 2Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research e.V. (TROPOS), Leipzig, 04318, Germany
  • 3Technical University Darmstadt, Darmstadt, 64287, Germany
  • 4Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
  • 5NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Chemical Science Division, Boulder, CO 80305, USA

Abstract. Atmospheric particle size distributions were measured in Paphos, Cyprus, during the A-LIFE (Absorbing aerosol layers in a changing climate: aging, lifetime and dynamics) field experiment from April 3–30, 2017. The newly developed DMA-train is deployed for the first time in an atmospheric environment for the direct measurement of the nucleation mode size range between 1.8–10 nm diameter. The DMA-train setup consists of seven size channels, of which five are set to fixed particle mobility diameters and two additional diameters are obtained by alternating voltage settings in one DMA every 10 s. In combination with a conventional Mobility Particle Size Spectrometer (MPSS) and an Aerodynamic Particle Sizer (APS) the complete atmospheric aerosol size distribution from 1.8 nm–10 µm is covered. The focus of the A-LIFE study is to characterize new particle formation (NPF) in the Eastern Mediterranean region at a measurement site with strong local pollution sources. The nearby Paphos airport was found to be a large emission source for nucleation mode particles and we analysed the size distribution of the airport emission plumes at approximately 500 m from the main runway. The analysis yielded 9 NPF events in 27 measurement days from the combined analysis of the DMA-train, MPSS and trace gas monitors. Growth rate calculations were performed and a size-dependency of the initial growth rate (< 10 nm) is observed for one event case. Fast changes of the sub-10 nm size distribution on the timescale of a few minutes are captured by the DMA-train measurement during early particle growth and are discussed in a second event case. In 2 cases, particle formation and growth were detected in the nucleation mode size range which did not exceed the 10 nm threshold. This finding implies that NPF likely occurs more frequently than estimated from studies where the lower nanometre size regime is not covered by the size distribution measurements.

Sophia Brilke et al.
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Short summary
Atmospheric particle size distributions with the focus on freshly nucleated particles were measured during the A-LIFE field experiment in Cyprus. A DMA-train was set up for the first time in an atmospheric environment and captures the sub-10 nm particle dynamics. Several new particle formation (NPF) events are studied in detail, of which some did not show particle growth beyond a 10 nm indicating that NPF may occur more frequently than estimated when the sub-10 nm size range is not covered.
Atmospheric particle size distributions with the focus on freshly nucleated particles were...
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