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Aerosol Particle Formation: Meteorological and Synoptic Processes behind the Event

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Title: Aerosol Particle Formation: Meteorological and Synoptic Processes behind the Event
Author: Sogacheva, Larisa
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Physics, Division of Atmospheric Sciences and Geophysics
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (article-based)
Abstract: Aerosol particles in the atmosphere are known to significantly influence ecosystems, to change air quality and to exert negative health effects. Atmospheric aerosols influence climate through cooling of the atmosphere and the underlying surface by scattering of sunlight, through warming of the atmosphere by absorbing sun light and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth surface and through their acting as cloud condensation nuclei. Aerosols are emitted from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Depending on their size, they can be transported over significant distances, while undergoing considerable changes in their composition and physical properties. Their lifetime in the atmosphere varies from a few hours to a week.

New particle formation is a result of gas-to-particle conversion. Once formed, atmospheric aerosol particles may grow due to condensation or coagulation, or be removed by deposition processes. In this thesis we describe analyses of air masses, meteorological parameters and synoptic situations to reveal conditions favourable for new particle formation in the atmosphere. We studied the concentration of ultrafine particles in different types of air masses, and the role of atmospheric fronts and cloudiness in the formation of atmospheric aerosol particles.

The dominant role of Arctic and Polar air masses causing new particle formation was clearly observed at Hyytiälä, Southern Finland, during all seasons, as well as at other measurement stations in Scandinavia. In all seasons and on multi-year average, Arctic and North Atlantic areas were the sources of nucleation mode particles. In contrast, concentrations of accumulation mode particles and condensation sink values in Hyytiälä were highest in continental air masses, arriving at Hyytiälä from Eastern Europe and Central Russia.

The most favourable situation for new particle formation during all seasons was cold air advection after cold-front passages. Such a period could last a few days until the next front reached Hyytiälä. The frequency of aerosol particle formation relates to the frequency of low-cloud-amount days in Hyytiälä. Cloudiness of less than 5 octas is one of the factors favouring new particle formation. Cloudiness above 4 octas appears to be an important factor that prevents particle growth, due to the decrease of solar radiation, which is one of the important meteorological parameters in atmospheric particle formation and growth.

Keywords: Atmospheric aerosols, particle formation, air mass, atmospheric front, cloudinessAerosol particles in the atmosphere are known to significantly influence ecosystems, to change air quality and to exert negative health effects. Atmospheric aerosols influence climate through cooling of the atmosphere and the underlying surface by scattering of sunlight, through warming of the atmosphere by absorbing sun light and thermal radiation emitted by the Earth surface and through their acting as cloud condensation nuclei. Aerosols are emitted from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Depending on their size, they can be transported over significant distances, while undergoing considerable changes in their composition and physical properties. Their lifetime in the atmosphere varies from a few hours to a week.

New particle formation is a result of gas-to-particle conversion. Once formed, atmospheric aerosol particles may grow due to condensation or coagulation, or be removed by deposition processes. In this thesis we describe analyses of air masses, meteorological parameters and synoptic situations to reveal conditions favourable for new particle formation in the atmosphere. We studied the concentration of ultrafine particles in different types of air masses, and the role of atmospheric fronts and cloudiness in the formation of atmospheric aerosol particles.

The dominant role of Arctic and Polar air masses causing new particle formation was clearly observed at Hyytiälä, Southern Finland, during all seasons, as well as at other measurement stations in Scandinavia. In all seasons and on multi-year average, Arctic and North Atlantic areas were the sources of nucleation mode particles. In contrast, concentrations of accumulation mode particles and condensation sink values in Hyytiälä were highest in continental air masses, arriving at Hyytiälä from Eastern Europe and Central Russia.

The most favourable situation for new particle formation during all seasons was cold air advection after cold-front passages. Such a period could last a few days until the next front reached Hyytiälä. The frequency of aerosol particle formation relates to the frequency of low-cloud-amount days in Hyytiälä. Cloudiness of less than 5 octas is one of the factors favouring new particle formation. Cloudiness above 4 octas appears to be an important factor that prevents particle growth, due to the decrease of solar radiation, which is one of the important meteorological parameters in atmospheric particle formation and growth.

Keywords: Atmospheric aerosols, particle formation, air mass, atmospheric front, cloudiness
URI: URN:ISBN:978-952-5027-99-0
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/23179
Date: 2008-12-15
Copyright information: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
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