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Discussion papers
© 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 28 Aug 2019

Submitted as: research article | 28 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).

Decreasing Trends of Particle Number and Black Carbon Mass Concentrations at 16 Observational Sites in Germany from 2009 to 2018

Jia Sun1, Wolfram Birmili1,2, Markus Hermann1, Thomas Tuch1, Kay Weinhold1, Maik Merkel1, Fabian Rasch1,a, Thomas Müller1, Alexander Schladitz3,b, Susanne Bastian3, Gunter Löschau3, Josef Cyrys4,5, Jianwei Gu4,5,c, Harald Flentje6, Björn Briel6, Christoph Asbach7, Heinz Kaminski7, Ludwig Ries2, Ralf Sohmer2, Holger Gerwig2, Klaus Wirtz2, Frank Meinhardt2, Andreas Schwerin2, Olaf Bath2, Nan Ma8,1, and Alfred Wiedensohler1 Jia Sun et al.
  • 1Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Leipzig, Germany
  • 2German Environment Agency (UBA), Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
  • 3Saxon State Office for Environment, Agriculture and Geology (LfULG), Dresden, Germany
  • 4Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU), Institute of Epidemiology II, Neuherberg, Germany
  • 5University of Augsburg (UA), Wissenschaftszentrum Umwelt, Augsburg, Germany
  • 6Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), Meteorologisches Observatorium Hohenpeißenberg, Germany
  • 7Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IUTA), Duisburg, Germany
  • 8Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 511443, China
  • anow at: Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BA), Richard-Willstätter-Str. 11, 12489 Berlin, Germany
  • bnow at: SICK Engineering GmbH, Ottendorf-Okrilla, Germany
  • cnow at: Fraunhofer Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut (WKI), Braunschweig, Germany

Abstract. Anthropogenic emissions are a dominant contributor to air pollution. Consequently, mitigation policies have attempted to reduce anthropogenic pollution emissions in Europe since the 1990s. To evaluate the effectiveness of these mitigation policies, the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN) was established in 2008, focusing on black carbon and sub-micrometer aerosol particles, especially ultrafine particles. In this investigation, trends of the size-resolved particle number concentrations (PNC) and the equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentration over a 10-year period (2009–2018) were evaluated for 16 observational sites for different environments among GUAN. The trend analysis was done for both, the full-length time series and on subsets of the time series in order to test the reliability of the results. The results show generally decreasing trends of both, the PNCs for all size ranges as well as eBC mass concentrations in all environments, except PNC in 10–30 nm at regional background and mountain sites. The annual slope of the eBC mass concentration varies between −7.7 % and −1.8 % per year. The slopes of the PNCs varies from −6.3 % to 2.7 %, −7.0 % to −2.0 %, and −9.5 % to −1.5 % per year (only significant trends) for 10–30 nm, 30–200 nm, and 200–800 nm particle diameter, respectively. The regional Mann-Kendall test yielded regional-scale trends of eBC mass concentration, N[30–200] and N[200–800] of −3.8 %, −2.0 % and −2.4 %, respectively, indicating an overall decreasing trend for eBC mass concentration and sub-micrometer PNC (except N[10–30]) all over Germany. The most significant decrease was observed on working days and during daytime in urban areas, which implies a strong evidence of reduced anthropogenic emissions. For the seasonal trends, stronger reductions were observed in winter. Possible reasons for this reduction can be the increased average ambient temperatures and wind speed in winter, which resulted in less domestic heating and stronger dilution. In addition, decreased precipitation in summer also diminishes the decrease of the PNCs and eBC mass concentration. For the period of interest, there were no significant changes in long-range transport patterns. The most likely factors for the observed decreasing trends are declining anthropogenic emissions due to emission mitigation policies of the European Union.

Jia Sun et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Jia Sun et al.
Jia Sun et al.
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Short summary
To evaluate the effectiveness of emission mitigation policies, we evaluated the trends of the size-resolved particle number concentrations and equivalent black carbon mass concentration at 16 observational sites for various environments in Germany (2009–2018). Overall, significant reductions were found for most of these parameters and sites. This study suggests that a combination of emission mitigation policies can effectively improve the air quality on large spatial scales such as in Germany.
To evaluate the effectiveness of emission mitigation policies, we evaluated the trends of the...