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Particle Climatology in Central East China Retrieved from Measurements in Planetary Boundary Layer and in Free Troposphere at a 1500-m-High Mountaintop Site

Category: Classification of and the Exchange between the Free Troposphere and Boundary Layer

Volume: 16 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 689-701
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.02.0070
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Xiaojing Shen1, Junying Sun 1,2, Xiaoye Zhang1, Niku Kivekäs3, Yangmei Zhang1, Tingting Wang1,4, Xiaochun Zhang5, Yun Yang1, Dezhong Wang6, Yong Zhao6, Dahe Qin2

  • 1 Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry of CMA, Institute of Atmospheric Composition, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2 State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Region Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
  • 3 Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
  • 4 Heilongjiang Province Meteorological Bureau, Harbin, China
  • 5 CMA Meteorological Observation Centre, Beijing, China
  • 6 Taishan National Basic Meteorological Observation Station, Tai'an, China


Particle number size distribution at mountain station in central east China.

Particle number concentration and size distribution is derived for PBL and FT.

The diurnal variation was influenced mostly by NPF events and the PBL.

This seasonality was caused by PBL and air mass advection.

New Particle Formation events were frequently observed.


Particle number size distribution (PNSD) is an important variable for evaluating the effect of aerosols on climate. In this study, the PNSD in the size range of 3 nm–2.5 µm was measured over a 20-month period at Mt. Tai station, located at ~1500 m asl. in central east China (CEC). The mean particle number concentrations in the nucleation (Nnuc, 3–25 nm), Aitken (NAit, 25–100 nm), accumulation modes (Nacc, 100–1000 nm) and in total measured particle size range were 3200 cm–3, 5200 cm–3, 3400 cm–3, and 11800 cm–3, respectively. New particle formation (NPF) events determined from the PNSD data occurred on 32% of measured days, with particle formation rate and growth rate of 4.0 ± 3.7 cm–3 s–1 and 6.1 ± 2.5 nm h–1, respectively. Time periods of 12:00–17:00 and 23:00–7:00 local time were selected to represent periods when the air mass at the station was dominated by planetary boundary layer (PBL) and free troposphere (FT) air, respectively. The diurnal variation of particle number concentration was influenced mostly by NPF events and evolution of the PBL. When NPF event days were excluded, the particle number concentration also experienced a seasonal variation with maximum in summer and minimum in winter. This seasonality was influenced by seasonal variations in PBL evolution and by air mass advection. The results of this study characterize the regional particle climatology in central east China in terms of particle number and size.


Particle number size distribution New particle formation event Planetary boundary layer Free troposphere

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