- Geowissenschaften (4) (remove)
- Explaining global surface aerosol number concentrations in terms of primary emissions and particle formation (2010)
- We synthesised observations of total particle number (CN) concentration from 36 sites around the world. We found that annual mean CN concentrations are typically 300–2000 cm -3 in the marine boundary layer and free troposphere (FT) and 1000–10 000 cm -3 in the continental boundary layer (BL). Many sites exhibit pronounced seasonality with summer time concentrations a factor of 2–10 greater than wintertime concentrations. We used these CN observations to evaluate primary and secondary sources of particle number in a global aerosol microphysics model. We found that emissions of primary particles can reasonably reproduce the spatial pattern of observed CN concentration (R2=0.46) but fail to explain the observed seasonal cycle (R2=0.1). The modeled CN concentration in the FT was biased low (normalised mean bias, NMB=& -88%) unless a secondary source of particles was included, for example from binary homogeneous nucleation of sulfuric acid and water (NMB= -25%). Simulated CN concentrations in the continental BL were also biased low (NMB= -74%) unless the number emission of anthropogenic primary particles was increased or a mechanism that results in particle formation in the BL was included. We ran a number of simulations where we included an empirical BL nucleation mechanism either using the activation-type mechanism (nucleation rate, J, proportional to gas-phase sulfuric acid concentration to the power one) or kinetic-type mechanism (J proportional to sulfuric acid to the power two) with a range of nucleation coefficients. We found that the seasonal CN cycle observed at continental BL sites was better simulated by BL particle formation (R2=0.3) than by increasing the number emission from primary anthropogenic sources (R2=0.18). The nucleation constants that resulted in best overall match between model and observed CN concentrations were consistent with values derived in previous studies from detailed case studies at individual sites. In our model, kinetic and activation-type nucleation parameterizations gave similar agreement with observed monthly mean CN concentrations.
- Evolution of particle composition in CLOUD nucleation experiments (2012)
- Sulphuric acid, ammonia, amines, and oxidised organics play a crucial role in nanoparticle formation in the atmosphere. In this study, we investigate the composition of nucleated nanoparticles formed from these compounds in the CLOUD chamber experiments at CERN. The investigation is carried out via analysis of the particle hygroscopicity, ethanol affinity, oxidation state, and ion composition. Hygroscopicity was studied by a hygroscopic tandem differential mobility analyser and a cloud condensation nuclei counter, ethanol affinity by an organic differential mobility analyser and particle oxidation level by a high-resolution time-of-flight aerosol mass spectrometer. The ion composition was studied by an atmospheric pressure interface time-of-flight mass spectrometer. The volume fraction of the organics in the particles during their growth from sizes of a few nanometers to tens of nanometers was derived from measured hygroscopicity assuming the Zdanovski-Stokes-Robinson relationship, and compared to values gained from the spectrometers. The ZSR-relationship was also applied to obtain the measured ethanol affinities during the particle growth, which were used to derive the volume fractions of sulphuric acid and the other inorganics (e.g. ammonium salts). In the presence of sulphuric acid and ammonia, particles with a mobility diameter of 150 nm were chemically neutralised to ammonium sulphate. In the presence of oxidation products of pinanediol, the organic volume fraction of freshly nucleated particles increased from 0.4 to ∼0.9, with an increase in diameter from 2 to 63 nm. Conversely, the sulphuric acid volume fraction decreased from 0.6 to 0.1 when the particle diameter increased from 2 to 50 nm. The results provide information on the composition of nucleated aerosol particles during their growth in the presence of various combinations of sulphuric acid, ammonia, dimethylamine and organic oxidation products.
- Results from the CERN pilot CLOUD experiment (2009)
- During a 4-week run in October–November 2006, a pilot experiment was performed at the CERN Proton Synchrotron in preparation for the CLOUD1 experiment, whose aim is to study the possible influence of cosmic rays on clouds. The purpose of the pilot experiment was firstly to carry out exploratory measurements of the effect of ionising particle radiation on aerosol formation from trace H2SO4 vapour and secondly to provide technical input for the CLOUD design. A total of 44 nucleation bursts were produced and recorded, with formation rates of particles above the 3 nm detection threshold of between 0.1 and 100 cm−3s−1, and growth rates between 2 and 37 nm h−1. The corresponding H2SO4 concentrations were typically around 106 cm−3 or less. The experimentally-measured formation rates and H2SO4 concentrations are comparable to those found in the atmosphere, supporting the idea that sulphuric acid is involved in the nucleation of atmospheric aerosols. However, sulphuric acid alone is not able to explain the observed rapid growth rates, which suggests the presence of additional trace vapours in the aerosol chamber, whose identity is unknown. By analysing the charged fraction, a few of the aerosol bursts appear to have a contribution from ion-induced nucleation and ion-ion recombination to form neutral clusters. Some indications were also found for the accelerator beam timing and intensity to influence the aerosol particle formation rate at the highest experimental SO2 concentrations of 6 ppb, although none was found at lower concentrations. Overall, the exploratory measurements provide suggestive evidence for ion-induced nucleation or ion-ion recombination as sources of aerosol particles. However in order to quantify the conditions under which ion processes become significant, improvements are needed in controlling the experimental variables and in the reproducibility of the experiments. Finally, concerning technical aspects, the most important lessons for the CLOUD design include the stringent requirement of internal cleanliness of the aerosol chamber, as well as maintenance of extremely stable temperatures (variations below 0.1°C).
- Molecular understanding of sulphuric acid–amine particle nucleation in the atmosphere (2013)
- Nucleation of aerosol particles from trace atmospheric vapours is thought to provide up to half of global cloud condensation nuclei1. Aerosols can cause a net cooling of climate by scattering sunlight and by leading to smaller but more numerous cloud droplets, which makes clouds brighter and extends their lifetimes2. Atmospheric aerosols derived from human activities are thought to have compensated for a large fraction of the warming caused by greenhouse gases2. However, despite its importance for climate, atmospheric nucleation is poorly understood. Recently, it has been shown that sulphuric acid and ammonia cannot explain particle formation rates observed in the lower atmosphere3. It is thought that amines may enhance nucleation4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, but until now there has been no direct evidence for amine ternary nucleation under atmospheric conditions. Here we use the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) chamber at CERN and find that dimethylamine above three parts per trillion by volume can enhance particle formation rates more than 1,000-fold compared with ammonia, sufficient to account for the particle formation rates observed in the atmosphere. Molecular analysis of the clusters reveals that the faster nucleation is explained by a base-stabilization mechanism involving acid–amine pairs, which strongly decrease evaporation. The ion-induced contribution is generally small, reflecting the high stability of sulphuric acid–dimethylamine clusters and indicating that galactic cosmic rays exert only a small influence on their formation, except at low overall formation rates. Our experimental measurements are well reproduced by a dynamical model based on quantum chemical calculations of binding energies of molecular clusters, without any fitted parameters. These results show that, in regions of the atmosphere near amine sources, both amines and sulphur dioxide should be considered when assessing the impact of anthropogenic activities on particle formation.