Subha S Raj

and 21 more

The Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) is one of the dominant sources of air pollution worldwide. During winter, the variations in planetary boundary layer (PBL) height, driven by a strong radiative thermal inversion, affect the regional air pollution dispersion. To date, measurements of aerosol-water vapour interactions, especially cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) activity, are limited in the Indian sub-continent, causing large uncertainties in the radiative forcing estimates of aerosol-cloud interactions. We present the results of a one-month field campaign (February-March 2018) in the megacity, Delhi, a significant polluter in the IGP. We measured the composition of fine particulate matter (PM1) and size-resolved CCN properties over a wide range of water vapour supersaturations. The analysis includes PBL modelling, backward trajectories, and fire spots to elucidate the influence of PBL and air mass origins on the aerosols. The aerosol properties depended strongly on the PBL height, and a simple power-law fit could parameterize the observed correlations of PM1 mass, aerosol particle number, and CCN number with PBL height, indicating PBL induced changes in aerosol accumulation. The low inorganic mass fractions, low aerosol hygroscopicity and high externally mixed weakly CCN-active particles under low PBL height (<100 m) indicated the influence of the PBL on aerosol aging processes. In contrast, aerosol properties did not depend strongly on air mass origins or wind direction, implying that the observed aerosol and CCN are from local emissions. An error function could parameterize the relationship between CCN number and supersaturation throughout the campaign.

Meinrat Andreae

and 2 more

The frequency and intensity of new particle formation (NPF) over remote forest regions in the temperate and boreal zones, and thus the importance of NPF for the aerosol budget and life cycle in the pristine atmosphere, remains controversial. Whereas NPF has been shown to occur relatively frequently at several sites in Scandinavia [1], it was found to be nearly absent at a mid-continental site in Siberia [2]. To explore this issue further, we made measurements of aerosol size distributions between 10 and 300 nm diameter at two remote sites in the transition region between temperate and boreal forest in British Columbia, Canada. The measurements covered 23 days during the month of June 2019, at the time when NPF typically reaches its seasonal maximum in remote mid-latitude regions. These are the first such measurements on the North American continent. Although the sites were only 150 km apart, there were dramatic differences in NPF frequency and intensity between them. At the Eagle Lake site, NPF occurred almost daily and nucleation mode particle concentrations reached above 5000 cm-3. In contrast, at the Nazko River site, there were only 6 NPF events in 11 days and nucleation mode particle concentrations reached only about 800 cm-3. The reasons for this difference are under investigation. They may include airmass origins, pre-existing aerosols, density of forest cover in the surrounding regions, and proximity to the Pacific coast. Our results suggest that measurement campaigns in the remote forest regions of North America to investigate the role of NPF with a more comprehensive set of instrumentation are essential for a deeper scientific understanding of this important process. [1] Nieminen et al., Atmos. Chem. Phys. 18 (2018) 14737-14756. [2] Wiedensohler et al., Atmospheric Environment, 200 (2019) 167-169.