1Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
2Key Laboratory for Atmospheric Chemistry of CMA, Center for Atmosphere Watch and Services, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
3Finnish Meteorological Institute P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
4China GAW Baseline Observatory, Qinghai Meteorological Bureau, Xining 810001, China
5University of Helsinki, Dept. Physical Sciences, P.O. Box 64, 00014 Univ. of Helsinki, Finland
Abstract. Particle number size distributions in size range 12–570 nm were measured continuously at Mount Waliguan, a remote mountain-top station in inland China. The station is located at the altitude of 3816 m a.s.l., and some 600–1200 m above the surrounding area. The measurement period lasted from September 2005 to May 2007. The measurements were verified with independent CPC measurements at the same site. The average particle concentration in ambient conditions was 2030 cm−3, which is higher than the values measured at similar altitude in other regions of the world. On average, the Aitken mode contributed to roughly half of the particle number concentration. The concentrations were found to be higher during the summer than during the winter. The diurnal variation was also investigated and a clear pattern was found for the nucleation mode during all seasons, so that the nucleation mode particle concentration increased in the afternoon. The same pattern was visible in the Aitken mode during the summer, whereas the accumulation mode did not show any level of diurnal pattern during any season. Excluding the nucleation mode, the average day-time particle concentrations were not significantly higher than those measured at night-time, indicating no systematic pattern of change between planetary boundary layer conditions and free troposphere conditions. In air masses coming from east, the number concentration of particles was higher than in other air masses, which indicates that the air mass might be affected anthropogenic pollution east of the station. Also other factors, such as active new-particle formation, keep aerosol number concentrations high in the area.