22 Sep 2023
 | 22 Sep 2023

New particle formation induced by anthropogenic-biogenic interactions in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau

Shiyi Lai, Ximeng Qi, Xin Huang, Sijia Lou, Xuguang Chi, Liangduo Chen, Chong Liu, Yuliang Liu, Chao Yan, Mengmeng Li, Tengyu Liu, Wei Nie, Veli-Matti Kerminen, Tuukka Petäjä, Markku Kulmala, and Aijun Ding

Abstract. New particle formation (NPF) plays a crucial role in the atmospheric aerosol population and has significant implications on climate dynamics, particularly in climate-sensitive zone such as the Tibetan Plateau (TP). However, our understanding of NPF in the TP is still limited due to a lack of comprehensive measurements and verified model simulations. To fill this knowledge gap, we conducted an integrated study combining comprehensive field measurements and chemical transport modeling to investigate NPF events in the southeastern TP during the pre-monsoon season. NPF was observed to occur frequently on clear-sky days in the southeastern TP, contributing significantly to the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) budget in this region. The observational evidence suggests that highly oxygenated organic molecules (HOMs) from monoterpene oxidation participate in the nucleation in southeastern TP. After updating the monoterpene oxidation chemistry and nucleation schemes in the meteorology-chemistry model, the model well reproduces observed NPF and reveals an extensive occurrence of NPF across the southeastern TP. The dominant nucleation mechanism is the synergistic nucleation of sulfuric acid, ammonia and HOMs, driven by the transport of anthropogenic precursors from South Asia and the presence of abundant biogenic gases. By investigating the vertical distribution of NPF, we find a significant influence of vertical transport in the southeastern TP. More specifically, strong nucleation near the surface leads to an intense formation of small particles, which are subsequently transported upward. These particles experience enhanced growth to larger sizes in the upper planetary boundary layer (PBL) due to favorable conditions such as lower temperatures and reduced condensation sink. As the PBL evolves, the particles in larger sizes are brought back to the ground, resulting in a pronounced increase in near-surface particle concentrations. This study highlights the important roles of anthropogenic-biogenic interactions and meteorological dynamics in NPF in the southeastern TP.

Shiyi Lai et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1848', Anonymous Referee #1, 28 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1848', James Brean, 31 Oct 2023

Shiyi Lai et al.


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Short summary
By combining in-situ measurements and chemical transport modeling, this study investigates new particle formation (NPF) in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau. We found that the NPF was driven by the presence of biogenic gases and the transport of anthropogenic precursors. The NPF was vertical heterogeneous and shaped by the vertical mixing. This study highlights the importance of anthropogenic-biogenic interactions and meteorological dynamics in NPF in this climate-sensitive region.