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On the regional aspects of new particle formation in the Eastern Mediterranean: A comparative study between a background and an urban site based on long term observations
- Kalkavouras, Panayiotis, Bougiatioti, Aikaterini, Grivas, Georgios, Stavroulas, Iasonas, Kalivitis, Nikos, Liakakou, Eleni, Gerasopoulos, Evangelos, Pilinis, Christodoulos, Mihalopoulos, Nikolaos
- Atmospheric research 2020 v.239 pp. 104911
- autumn, comparative study, spring, sulfur dioxide, urban areas, Crete
- Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) is an important source of submicron particles. In remote background environments where local sources are scarce such processes may impact significantly on climate-relevant parameters. On the other hand, in urban environments, newly-formed particles are adding up to submicron particles emitted from primary sources. As the exact mechanism which triggers NPF still remains elusive, so are the circumstances for simultaneous occurrence of such events in two different environments (urban vs. regional background). In this study, concurrent number size distribution measurements were conducted in the urban environment of Athens and at the regional background site of Finokalia, Crete, located 340 km away and spanning a 2-year period. It occurred that the relative frequency of NPF was similar at both sites (around 20%), with a higher frequency during spring and autumn at the urban site, while at the background site most events took place in August and December, during the studied period. There were 35 event days when NPF took place at both sites simultaneously, all associated with air masses originating from the Northern sector, indicating the presence of regional events in the extended geographical area and characterized by low condensation sink (CS). By comparing the common with the non-common class I NPF episodes, we conclude that the conditions applying when regional NPF events with growth are observed in the same day at the surface level of both areas, are: (i) lower CS, (ii) higher SO₂ concentrations, (iii) lower RH, and finally (iv) lower formation and growth rates than those observed during the site-specific and more rapidly evolving NPF events.