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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-849
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-849
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 08 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 08 Nov 2019

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

Long-term sub-micron aerosol chemical composition in the boreal forest: inter- and intra-annual variability

Liine Heikkinen1, Mikko Äijälä1, Matthieu Riva1,2, Krista Luoma1, Kaspar Dällenbach1, Juho Aalto3, Pasi Aalto1, Diego Aliaga1, Minna Aurela4, Helmi Keskinen1, Ulla Makkonen4, Pekka Rantala1, Markku Kulmala1, Tuukka Petäjä1, Douglas Worsnop1,5, and Mikael Ehn1 Liine Heikkinen et al.
  • 1Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research /Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, FI–0014, Finland
  • 2Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, CNRS, IRCELYON, 69626, Villeurbanne, France
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research /Forest Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, FI–00014, Finland
  • 4Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, FI–00101, Finland
  • 5Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA, USA

Abstract. The Station for Measuring Ecosystem Atmosphere Relations (SMEAR) II is well known among atmospheric scientists due to the immense amount of observational data it provides of the earth–atmosphere interface. Moreover, SMEAR II plays an important role in large European research infrastructures, enabling the large scientific community to tackle climate and air pollution related questions, utilising the high-quality long-term data sets recorded at the site. So far, the well-documented site was missing the description of the seasonal variation of aerosol chemical composition that is crucial for understanding the complex biogeochemical and -physical processes governing the forest ecosystem. Here, we report the sub-micron aerosol chemical composition and its variability utilising data measured between 2012 and 2018 using an Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM). We observed a bimodal seasonal trend in the sub–micron aerosol concentration culminating in February (2.7, 1.6, 5.1 µg m−3 for median, 25th, 75th percentiles, respectively) and July (4.2, 2.2, and 5.7 µg m−3 for median, 25th, 75th percentiles, respectively). The wintertime maximum was linked to an enhanced presence of inorganic aerosol species (ca. 50 %) whereas the summertime maximum (ca. 80 % organics) to biogenic secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation. During the exceptionally hot Julys of 2014 and 2018, the organic aerosol concentrations were up to 70 % higher than the 7–year July mean. The projected increase of heat wave frequency over Finland will most likely influence the loading and chemical composition of aerosol particles in the future. Our findings suggest strong influence of meteorological conditions such as radiation, ambient temperature, wind speed and direction on aerosol chemical composition. To our understanding, this is the longest time series reported describing the aerosol chemical composition measured online in the boreal region, but the continuous monitoring will be maintained also in the future.

Liine Heikkinen et al.
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Liine Heikkinen et al.
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Latest update: 11 Nov 2019
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Short summary
Atmospheric aerosols are solid or liquid particles suspended in the air. They are known as a health risk, but they also influence the Earth's climate. The composition of aerosols becomes important when predicting their effect on climate. We show both seasonal and year-to-year variability of aerosol chemical composition in the boreal forest of Finland. We observed a consistent bimodal seasonal trend: a biogenic summertime maximum, and an anthropogenic wintertime maximum in the mass concentration.
Atmospheric aerosols are solid or liquid particles suspended in the air. They are known as a...
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