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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2016, Vol. 10 Issue (5) : 5
Key features of new particle formation events at background sites in China and their influence on cloud condensation nuclei
Xiaojing SHEN1,Junying SUN1,2,*(),Xiaoye ZHANG1,Yangmei ZHANG1,Lu ZHANG1,3,Ruxia FAN1
1. State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather & Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry of CMA,Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
2. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Region Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
3. College of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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New particle formation (NPF) event at multi rural sites in China

Identifying the characteristics of NPF event

Comparing NPF event between clean and polluted conditions

Quantifying contribution to the cloud condensation nuclei

Implication of climate and air quality

Long-term continuous measurements of particle number size distributions with mobility diameter sizes ranging from 3 to 800 nm were performed to study new particle formation (NPF) events at Shangdianzi (SDZ), Mt. Tai (TS), and Lin’an (LAN) stations representing the background atmospheric conditions in the North China Plain (NCP), Central East China (CEC), and Yangtze River Delta (YRD) regions, respectively. The mean formation rate of 3-nm particles was 6.3, 3.7, and 5.8 cm−3·s−1, and the mean particle growth rate was 3.6, 6.0, and 6.2 nm·h−1 at SDZ, TS, and LAN, respectively. The NPF event characteristics at the three sites indicate that there may be a stronger source of low volatile vapors and higher condensational sink of pre-existing particles in the YRD region. The formation rate of NPF events at these sites, as well as the condensation sink, is approximately 10 times higher than some results reported at rural/urban sites in western countries. However, the growth rates appear to be 1–2 times higher. Approximately 12%–17% of all NPF events with nucleated particles grow to a climate-relevant size (>50 nm). These kinds of NPF events were normally observed with higher growth rate than the other NPF cases. Generally, the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) number concentration can be enhanced by approximately a factor of 2–6 on these event days. The mean value of the enhancement factor is lowest at LAN (2–3) and highest at SDZ (~4). NPF events have also been found to have greater impact on CCN production in China at the regional scale than in the other background sites worldwide.

Keywords New particle formation      Regional background      Cloud condensation nuclei      Growth rate      Formation rate     
This article is part of themed collection: Understanding the processes of air pollution formation (Responsible Editors: Min SHAO, Shuxiao WANG & Armistead G. RUSSELL)
Corresponding Author(s): Junying SUN   
Issue Date: 09 May 2016
 Cite this article:   
Xiaojing SHEN,Junying SUN,Xiaoye ZHANG, et al. Key features of new particle formation events at background sites in China and their influence on cloud condensation nuclei[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2016, 10(5): 5.
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Xiaojing SHEN
Junying SUN
Xiaoye ZHANG
Yangmei ZHANG
Ruxia FAN
Fig.1  Location of the SDZ, TS and LAN stations (circles) and China’s megacities Beijing and Shanghai in China
Fig.2  Data of the NPF parameters for each year at the SDZ site, and data for the entire study period at all three sites (SDZ, LAN, and TS). In the box plots, the upper and lower boundaries of the boxes are the 75th and the 25th percentiles, respectively. The line within the box marks the median, and the whiskers above and below the box indicate the 90th and 10th percentiles, respectively. The Star symbols representing the arithmetic means
station measurement period environment type size range/nm NPF frequency /% FR/(cm3·s1) GR/(nm·h1)
Hyytiälä, Finland [29] 1996.1–2004 Rural 3–500 46 0.8 (J3) 3.0
Värriö, Finland [29] 1998.1–2004 Rural 8–460 27 0.2 (J8) 2.7
Aspvreten, Finland [29] 2000.4–2004 Rural 10–450 54 0.4 (J10) 3.9
Pallas, Finland [29] 2000.5–2004 Rural 10–490 27 0.1 (J10) 2.5
Melpitz, Germany [30] 1996.3–1997.8 Rural 3–800 20 4.1
Hohenpeissenberg, Germany [25] 1998.4–2000.8 Rural 3–800 18 1.0 (J3) 2.6
South African Savannah [20] 2006.7–2008.2 Rural 10–840 69 3.8 (J10) 8.9
Jungfraujoch, Switzerland [24] 2008.4–2009.4 Rural 0.5–49 18 5.7 (J2) 2.6
Himalayas, Nepal [31] 2006.3–2007.8 Rural 10–700 35 0.2 (J10) 1.8
Puy de Dôme, France [21] 2006.1–2007.12 Rural 10–500 50 5.1
Storm Peak Laboratory, US [32] 2001–2009 Rural 8–333 52 0.7 (J8) 7.5
Egbert, Canada [22] 2007.5–2008.5 Rural 10–420 30 0.84 (J10) 3.1
St. Louis, US [23] 2001.4–2003.5 Urban 3–2000 30 17.0 (J3) 5.9
Po Valley, Italy [33] 2002.4–2005.3 Urban 3–600 36 5.9 (J3) 6.8
Helsinki, Finland [34] 1997.5–2006.12 Urban 3–950 2.4 (J3/J7) 3.8
Beijing, China [8] 2004.3–2005.2 Urban 3–800 40 3.3–81.4 (J3) 0.1–11.2
Nanjing, China [10] 2011.11–2012.3 Suburban 0.8–800 19 8.5 (J6) 6.7
Hongkong, China [35] 2003.2–2004.1 Coastal 3.2–106 13* 4.1 (J3)* 4.7*
SDZ, China# 2008.3–2013.12 Rural 3–850 36 6.3 (J3) 3.6
TS, China# 2011.1–2011.12 Rural 3–850 32 3.7(J3) 6.0
LAN, China# 2013.1–2013.12 Rural 3–850 28 5.8 (J3) 6.2
Tab.1  Summary of NPF event studies at different locations in China and worldwide
Fig.3  A case study of the NPF event on Jan 14–15, 2009 at SDZ, including: (a) the wind speed and direction; (b) evolution of PNSD, circles representing geometric mean diameter; (c) variation of CS and PM1 mass concentrations; and (d) potential CCN concentrations, CN50, CN80, and CN100
station totalNPF class 1 class 2 climate-relevant NPF event CN50 EF CN80 EF CN100 EF
SDZ 503 415 (85%) 88 (15%) 84(17%) 4.7±2.6 4.3±2.9 3.9±2.8
TS 109 82 (75%) 27 (25%) 13(12%) 3.8±2.2 3.7±2.0 3.0±1.6
LAN 99 81 (82%) 18 (18%) 15(15%) 3.2±1.6 3.0±1.6 2.6±1.3
Tab.2  Classification statistics for events at SDZ, TS, and LAN. Count (%): count is the number of each class, and the value in the bracket indicates the percentage accounting for the total NPF event. The enhancement factor (EF) of the CCN number concentration at different critical diameters, Dp,c = 50, 80, 100 nm
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