Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-742
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-742
03 Apr 2024
 | 03 Apr 2024

The behaviour of charged particles (ions) during new particle formation events in urban Leipzig (Germany)

Alex Rowell, James Brean, David C. S. Beddows, Zongbo Shi, Avinash Kumar, Matti Rissanen, Miikka Dal Maso, Peter Mettke, Kay Weinhold, Maik Merkel, and Roy M. Harrison

Abstract. Air ions are electrically charged molecules or particles in air. They are found in the natural environment. Charging accelerates the formation and growth of new aerosol particles. A Neutral cluster and Air Ion Spectrometer was deployed in Leipzig, Germany, to measure the number size distribution of ions from 0.8 to 42 nm, between July 27th and August 25th 2022. Charged particles were mobility classified into small (0.8–1.6 nm), intermediate (1.6–7.5 nm), and large (7.5–22 nm) fractions and their mean concentrations (sum of positive and negative polarities) during the campaign were 462, 88, and 420 cm-3, respectively. The study found that small charged particles were primarily associated with radioactive decay during the early hours, while the intermediate and large charged fractions were linked to photochemistry and local air pollution, as indicated via synchronous peaks in sulphuric acid dimer and black carbon concentrations, respectively. NPF events, observed on 30 % of days, coincided with intense solar radiation. Small charged particle concentrations were lower on NPF event days, whereas the intermediate and large charged species exhibited higher concentrations. The apparent contributions of charged species to 3 and 7.5 nm particles formation rates were 5.7 and 12.7 %, respectively, with mean growth rates of 4.0 and 5.2 nm h-1. Although the ratio of apparent formation rates for charged to uncharged nanoparticles of 3 nm suggested a minor role for charged species in NPF, a substantial increase in intermediate and large charged species was associated with NPF events. The findings contribute valuable insights into the complex interplay between charged species and particle formation in urban environments.

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Alex Rowell, James Brean, David C. S. Beddows, Zongbo Shi, Avinash Kumar, Matti Rissanen, Miikka Dal Maso, Peter Mettke, Kay Weinhold, Maik Merkel, and Roy M. Harrison

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Apr 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Anonymous Referee #3, 11 May 2024
  • AC1: 'AC - Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Roy M. Harrison, 29 May 2024

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Apr 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Anonymous Referee #3, 11 May 2024
  • AC1: 'AC - Comment on egusphere-2024-742', Roy M. Harrison, 29 May 2024
Alex Rowell, James Brean, David C. S. Beddows, Zongbo Shi, Avinash Kumar, Matti Rissanen, Miikka Dal Maso, Peter Mettke, Kay Weinhold, Maik Merkel, and Roy M. Harrison

Data sets

Ion and particle size distributions and sulphuric acid in Leipzig, Germany, summer 2022, alongside parameters describing observed New Particle Formation Roy M. Harrison, Alex Rowell, and James Brean https://doi.org/10.25500/edata.bham.00001073

Alex Rowell, James Brean, David C. S. Beddows, Zongbo Shi, Avinash Kumar, Matti Rissanen, Miikka Dal Maso, Peter Mettke, Kay Weinhold, Maik Merkel, and Roy M. Harrison

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Short summary
Ions enhance the formation and growth rates of new particles, affecting the earths radiation budget. Despite these effects, there is little published data exploring the sources of ions in the urban environment and their role in new particle formation (NPF). Here we show that natural ion sources dominate in urban environments, while traffic is a secondary source. Ions contribute up to 12.7 % of the formation rate of particles, indicating that they are important for forming urban PM.