05 Apr 2023
 | 05 Apr 2023

What chemical species are responsible for new particle formation and growth in the Netherlands? A hybrid positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis using aerosol composition (ACSM) and size (SMPS)

Farhan R. Nursanto, Roy Meinen, Rupert Holzinger, Maarten C. Krol, Xinya Liu, Ulrike Dusek, Bas Henzing, and Juliane L. Fry

Abstract. Aerosol formation acts as a sink for gas-phase atmospheric species that controls their atmospheric lifetime and environmental effects. To investigate aerosol formation and evolution in the Netherlands, a hybrid positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis has been conducted using observations from May, June, and September 2021 collected in a rural site of Cabauw in Central Netherlands. The hybrid input matrix consists of the full organic mass spectrum acquired from a time-of-flight aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ToF-ACSM), ACSM species concentrations, and binned particle size distribution concentrations from a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS). These hybrid PMF analyses discerned six factors that describe aerosol composition variations: four size-driven factors that are related to new particle formation and growth (F6, F5, F4, and F3), and two bulk factors driven by composition, not size (F2, F1). The smallest-diameter size factor (F6) contains ammonium sulfate and organics, and typically occurs during the daytime. Newly formed particles, represented by F6, are correlated with wind from the southwesterly-westerly, northerly, and easterly sectors that transport sulfur oxides (SOx), ammonia (NH3), and organic precursors to Cabauw. As the particles grow from F6 to F3, nitrate plays an increasing role, and the particle loading diurnal cycle shifts from daytime to a nighttime maximum. The inorganic ion balance and organics composition in the bulk atmosphere affects the chemical composition variation across factors and seasons. Changing ammonium-sulfate-nitrate equilibrium shifts inorganic species among factors, and greater organics availability makes secondary organic aerosol (SOA) more influential in summertime aerosol growth, principally due to volatility differences produced by seasonal variation in photooxidation and temperature.

Farhan R. Nursanto 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-2023-554', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Apr 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-554', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 May 2023

Farhan R. Nursanto et al.

Farhan R. Nursanto et al.


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Short summary
Particulate matter (PM) is a harmful air pollution that depends on the complex mixture of natural and anthropogenic emissions to the atmosphere. Thus, in different regions and seasons, the way that PM is formed and grows can differ. In this study, we use a combined statistical analysis of the chemical composition and particle size distribution to determine what drives particle formation and growth, across seasons and using varying wind directions to elucidate the role of different sources.