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The role of VOC oxidation products in continental new particle formation

Laaksonen A, Kulmala M, O'Dowd C, Joutsensaari J, Vaattovaara P, Mikkonen S, Lehtinen K, Sogacheva L, Dal Maso M, Aalto P, Petäjä T, Sogachev A, Jun Yoon Y, Lihavainen H, Nilsson D, Cristina Facchini M, Cavalli F, Fuzzi S, Hoffmann T, Arnold F, Hanke M, Sellegri K, Umann B, Junkermann W, Coe H, Allan J, Rami Alfarra M, Worsnop D, Riekkola M, Hyötyläinen T, Viisanen Y ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, vol. 7, issue 3 (2007) pp. 7819-7841

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Abstract

Aerosol physical and chemical properties and trace gas concentrations
were measured

during the QUEST field campaign in March–April, 2003, in Hyyti ¨ al
¨ a, Finland.

Our aim was to understand the role of oxidation products of VOC’s
such as mono- and

sesquiterpenes in atmospheric nucleation events. Particle chemical
5 compositions were

measured using the Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer, and chemical
compositions

of aerosol samples collected with low-pressure impactors and a high
volume sampler

were analysed using a number of techniques. The results indicate that
during and after

new particle formation, all particles larger than 50nm in diameter
contained similar

organic substances that are likely to be mono- and sesquiterpene oxidation
products.

The oxidation products identified in the high volume samples were
shown to be mostly

aldehydes. In order to study the composition of particles in the 10–50nm
range, we

made use of Tandem Differential Mobility Analyzer results. We found
that during nucleation

events, both 10 and 50nm particle growth factors due to uptake of
ethanol

vapour correlate strongly with gas-phase monoterpene oxidation product
(MTOP) concentrations,

indicating that the organic constituents of particles smaller than
50nm in

diameter are at least partly similar to those of larger particles.
We furthermore showed

that particle growth rates during the nucleation events are correlated
with the gasphase

MTOP concentrations. This indicates that VOC oxidation products may
have a

key role in determining the spatial and temporal features of the nucleation
events. This

conclusion was supported by our aircraft measurements of new 3–10nm
particle concentrations,

which showed that the nucleation event on 28 March 2003, started at
the

ground layer, i.e. near the VOC source, and evolved together with
the mixed layer. Furthermore,

no new particle formation was detected upwind away from the forest,
above

the frozen Gulf of Bothnia.

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Authors

  • a. Laaksonen

  • M. Kulmala

  • C. D. O'Dowd

  • J. Joutsensaari

  • P. Vaattovaara

  • S. Mikkonen

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