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Airborne observations of aerosol microphysical properties and particle ageing processes in the troposphere above Europe

by T. Hamburger, G. McMeeking, A. Minikin, A. Petzold, H. Coe, R. Krejci
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()

Abstract

In-situ measurements of aerosol microphysical properties were performed in May 2008 during the EUCAARI-LONGREX campaign. Two aircraft, the FAAM BAe-146 and DLR Falcon 20, operated from Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany. A comprehensive data set was obtained comprising the wider region of Europe north of the Alps throughout the whole tropospheric column. Prevailing stable synoptic conditions enabled measurements of accumulating emissions inside the continental boundary layer reaching a maximum total number concentration of 19 000 particles cm−3 stp. Ultra-fine particles as indicators for nucleation events were observed within the boundary layer during high pressure conditions and after updraft of emissions induced by frontal passages above 8 km altitude in the upper free troposphere. Aerosol ageing processes during air mass transport are analysed using trajectory analysis. The ratio of particles containing a non-volatile core (250 °C) to the total aerosol number concentration was observed to increase within the first 12 to 48 h from the particle source from 50 to 85% due to coagulation. Aged aerosol also features an increased fraction of accumulation mode particles of approximately 40% of the total number concentration. The presented analysis provides an extensive data set of tropospheric aerosol microphysical properties on a continental scale which can be used for atmospheric aerosol models and comparisons of satellite retrievals.

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