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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 01 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 01 Aug 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 its effect on CCN abundance in the summer Arctic: a case study during PS106 cruise

Simonas Kecorius1, Teresa Vogl1,4, Pauli Paasonen2, Janne Lampilahti2, Daniel Rothenberg3, Heike Wex1, Sebastian Zeppenfeld1, Manuela van Pinxteren1, Markus Hartmann1, Silvia Henning1, Xianda Gong1, Andre Welti1, Markku Kulmala2, Frank Stratmann1, Hartmut Herrmann1, and Alfred Wiedensohler1 Simonas Kecorius et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
  • 3ClimaCell, Inc., Boston, 02210 Massachusetts, USA
  • 4Institute for Meteorology, University of Leipzig, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

Abstract. In a warming Arctic the increased occurrence of new particle formation (NPF) is believed to originate from the declining ice coverage during summertime. Understanding the physico-chemical properties of newly formed particles, as well as mechanisms that control both particle formation and growth in this pristine environment is important for interpreting aerosol-cloud interactions, to which the Arctic climate can be highly sensitive. In this investigation, we present the analysis of NPF and growth in the high summer Arctic. The measurements have been done on-board Research Vessel Polarstern during the PS106 Arctic expedition. Four distinctive NPF and subsequent particle growth events were observed, during which particle (diameter in a range 10–50 nm) number concentrations increased from background values of approx. 40 up to 4000 cm-3. Based on particle formation and growth rates, as well as hygroscopicity of nucleation and the Aitken mode particles, we distinguished two different types of NPF events. First, some NPF events were favored by negative ions, resulting in more-hygroscopic nucleation mode particles and suggesting sulfuric acid as a precursor gas. Second, other NPF events resulted in less-hygroscopic particles, indicating the influence of organic vapors on particle formation and growth. To test the climatic relevance of NPF and its influence on the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) budget in the Arctic, we applied a zero-dimensional, adiabatic cloud parcel model. At an updraft velocity of 0.1 m s-1, the particle number size distribution (PNSD) generated during nucleation processes resulted in an increase of the CCN number concentration by a factor of 2 to 5, compared to the background CCN concentrations. This result was confirmed by the directly measured CCN number concentrations. Although particles did not grow beyond 50 nm in diameter and the activated fraction of 15–50 nm particles was on average below 10 %, it could be shown that the sheer number of particles produced by the nucleation process is enough to significantly influence the background CCN number concentration. It implies that NPF can be an important source of CCN in the Arctic. However, more studies should be conducted in the future to understand mechanisms of NPF, sources of precursor gases and condensable vapors, as well as the role of the aged nucleation mode particles on Arctic cloud formation.

Simonas Kecorius et al.
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Status: open (until 26 Sep 2019)
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Simonas Kecorius et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Arctic sea ice retreat, atmospheric new particle formation (NPF), and aerosol-cloud interaction may all be linked via positive feedback mechanism. Understanding the sources of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) is an important piece in Arctic Amplification puzzle. We show that in Arctic, newly formed particles do not have to grow beyond the Aitken mode to act as CCN. This is important, because NPF occurrence in Arctic is expected to increase, making it a significant contributor to CCN budged.
Arctic sea ice retreat, atmospheric new particle formation (NPF), and aerosol-cloud interaction...