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Analysis of number size distributions of tropical free tropospheric aerosol particles observed at Pico Espejo (4765 m a.s.l.), Venezuela

by T. Schmeissner, R. Krejci, J. Ström, W. Birmili, A. Wiedensohler, G. Hochschild, J. Gross, P. Hoffmann, S. Calderon show all authors
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()


The first long-term measurements of aerosol num- ber and size distributions in South-American tropical free troposphere (FT) were performed from March 2007 until March 2009. The measurements took place at the high al- titude Atmospheric Research Station Alexander von Hum- boldt. The station is located on top of the Sierra Nevada mountain ridge at 4765ma.s.l. nearby the city of M´ erida, Venezuela. Aerosol size distribution and number concentra- tion data was obtained with a custom-built Differential Mo- bility Particle Sizer (DMPS) system and a Condensational Particle Counter (CPC). The analysis of the annual and diur- nal variability of the tropical FT aerosol focused mainly on possible links to the atmospheric general circulation in the tropics. Considerable annual and diurnal cycles of the parti- cle number concentration were observed. Highest total par- ticle number concentrations were measured during the dry season (January–March, 519±613cm−3), lowest during the wet season (July–September, 318±194cm−3). The more humid FT (relative humidity (RH) range 50–95%) contained generally higher aerosol particle number concentrations (573±768cm−3 during dry season, 320±195cm−3 during wet season) than the dry FT (RH<50 %, 454±332cm−3 during dry season, 275±172cm−3 during wet season), in- dicating the importance of convection for aerosol distribu- tions in the tropical FT. The diurnal cycle in the variability of the particle number concentrationwas mainly driven by local orography. Correspondence

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