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Volume 15, issue 14
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 8401-8421, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-8401-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: CHemistry and AeRosols Mediterranean EXperiments (ChArMEx)...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 8401-8421, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-8401-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 28 Jul 2015

Research article | 28 Jul 2015

Aerosol chemistry above an extended archipelago of the eastern Mediterranean basin during strong northern winds

E. Athanasopoulou1,2, A. P. Protonotariou2, E. Bossioli2, A. Dandou2, M. Tombrou2, J. D. Allan1,3, H. Coe1, N. Mihalopoulos4,5, J. Kalogiros4, A. Bacak1, J. Sciare6,7, and G. Biskos7,8,9 E. Athanasopoulou et al.
  • 1School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
  • 2Department of Applied Physics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15784 Athens, Greece
  • 3National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
  • 4Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, National Observatory of Athens, 15236 Athens, Greece
  • 5Chemistry department, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
  • 6Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, LSCE, UMR8212, CNRS-CEA-UVSQ, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 7Energy Environment and Water Research Center, The Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 8Department of Environment, University of Aegean, 81100 Mytilene, Greece
  • 9Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands

Abstract. Detailed aerosol chemical predictions by a comprehensive model system (i.e. PMCAMx, WRF, GEOS-CHEM), along with airborne and ground-based observations, are presented and analysed over a wide domain covering the Aegean Archipelago. The studied period is 10 successive days in 2011, characterized by strong northern winds, which is the most frequently prevailing synoptic pattern during summer. The submicron aerosol load in the lower troposphere above the archipelago is homogenously enriched in sulfate (average modelled and measured submicron sulfate of 5.5 and 5.8 μg m−3, respectively), followed by organics (2.3 and 4.4 μg m−3) and ammonium (1.5 and 1.7 μg m−3). Aerosol concentrations smoothly decline aloft, reaching lower values (< 1 μg m−3) above 4.2 km altitude. The evaluation criteria rate the model results for sulfate, ammonium, chloride, elemental carbon, organic carbon and total PM10 mass concentrations as "good", indicating a satisfactory representation of the aerosol chemistry and precursors. Higher model discrepancies are confined to the highest (e.g. peak sulfate values) and lowest ends (e.g. nitrate) of the airborne aerosol mass size distribution, as well as in airborne organic aerosol concentrations (model underestimation ca. 50 %). The latter is most likely related to the intense fire activity at the eastern Balkan area and the Black Sea coastline, which is not represented in the current model application. The investigation of the effect of local variables on model performance revealed that the best agreement between predictions and observations occurs during high winds from the northeast, as well as for the area confined above the archipelago and up to 2.2 km altitude. The atmospheric ageing of biogenic particles is suggested to be activated in the aerosol chemistry module, when treating organics in a sufficient nitrogen and sulfate-rich environment, such as that over the Aegean basin. More than 70 % of the predicted aerosol mass over the Aegean Archipelago during a representative Etesian episode is related to transport of aerosols and their precursors from outside the modelling domain.

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A model system is evaluated versus ground and airborne aerosol measurements, towards the identification of its competencies and deficiencies over the eastern Mediterranean (EM) during summer. Secondary organic aerosol (OA) formation is investigated towards improving OA behaviour. Biomass burning is a significant particle source, largely explaining OA underestimation (ca. 50%). More than 70% of the aerosol mass over the EM is related to trans-boundary transport during strong northeastern winds.
A model system is evaluated versus ground and airborne aerosol measurements, towards the...
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