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Observation of regional new particle formation in the urban atmosphere

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Tellus B
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Abstract

Long-term measurements of fine particle number-size distributions were carried out over 9.5 yr (May 1997–December 2006), in the urban background atmosphere of Helsinki. The total number of days was 3528 with about 91.9% valid data. A new particle formation event (NPF) is defined if a distinct nucleation mode of aerosol particles is observed below 25 nm for several hours, and it shows a growth pattern. We observed 185 NPF events, 111 d were clear non-events and most of the days (around 83.5%) were undefined. The observed events were regional because they were observed at Hyytiälä (250 km north of Helsinki). The events occurred most frequently during spring and autumn. The observed formation rate was maximum during the spring and summer (monthly median 2.87 cm-3 s-1) and the modal growth rate was maximum during late summer and Autumn (monthly median 6.55 nm h-1). The events were observed around noon, and the growth pattern often continued on the following day. The observation of weak NPF events was hindered due to pre-existing particles from both local sources. It is clear that regional NPF events have a clear influence on the dynamic behaviour of aerosol particles in the urban atmosphere.DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2008.00365.x

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