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Volume 18, issue 21 | Copyright

Special issue: Study of ozone, aerosols and radiation over the Tibetan Plateau...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 15687-15703, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-15687-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Nov 2018

Research article | 01 Nov 2018

Particle number size distribution and new particle formation under the influence of biomass burning at a high altitude background site at Mt. Yulong (3410 m), China

Dongjie Shang1, Min Hu1,2, Jing Zheng1, Yanhong Qin1, Zhuofei Du1, Mengren Li1, Jingyao Fang1, Jianfei Peng1, Yusheng Wu1, Sihua Lu1, and Song Guo1 Dongjie Shang et al.
  • 1State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
  • 2Beijing Innovation Center for Engineering Sciences and Advanced Technology, Peking University, 100871, Beijing, China

Abstract. Biomass burning (BB) activities have a great impact on the particle number size distribution (PNSD) in the upper troposphere of the Tibetan Plateau, which could affect regional and global climate. An intensive campaign focused on the measurement of the PNSD, gaseous pollutants, and meteorological parameters was conducted at Mt. Yulong, a high-altitude site (3410ma.s.l.) on the southeastern Tibetan Plateau during the pre-monsoon season (22 March to 15 April). During this period, intensive BB activities in southern Asia were detected by fire maps. The long-range transport of BB pollutants can increase the accumulation mode particles in the background atmosphere at Mt. Yulong. As a consequence, the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) concentration was found to be 2–8 times higher during BB periods than during clean periods. Apart from BB, variations of the planet boundary layer (PBL) and new particle formation (NPF) were other factors that influenced the PNSD. However, only three NPF events (with a frequency of 14%) were observed at Mt. Yulong. The occurrence of NPF events during clean episodes corresponded to an elevated PBL or transported BB pollutants. Due to the lack of condensable vapors including sulfuric acid and organic compounds, the newly formed particles were not able to grow to CCN size. Our study emphasizes the influences of BB on the aerosol and CCN concentration in the atmosphere of the Tibetan Plateau. These results also have the potential to improve our understanding of the variation of the particle concentration in the upper troposphere, and provide information for regional and global climate models.

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Biomass burning (BB) activities have a great impact on the particle number size distribution in the upper troposphere of the Tibetan Plateau (TP), which could affect regional and global climate. We found that the cloud condensation nuclei concentration was 2–8 times higher during BB influenced periods than during clean periods on the TP. An unexpectedly low new particle formation frequency was found in clean atmosphere on the TP, due to low concentrations of anthropogenic precursors, i.e., SO2.
Biomass burning (BB) activities have a great impact on the particle number size distribution in...
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