Impact of desert dust on new particle formation events and the cloud condensation nuclei budget in dust-influenced areas

Juan Andrés Casquero-Vera, Daniel Pérez-Ramírez, Hassan Lyamani, Fernando Rejano, Andrea Casans, Gloria Titos, Francisco José Olmo, Lubna Dada, Simo Hakala, Tareq Hussein, Katrianne Lehtipalo, Pauli Paasonen, Antti Hyvärinen, Noemí Pérez, Xavier Querol, Sergio Rodríguez, Nikos Kalivitis, Yenny González, Mansour A. Alghamdi, Veli Matti KerminenAndrés Alastuey, Tuukka Petäjä, Lucas Alados-Arboledas

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


Detailed knowledge on the formation of new aerosol particles in the atmosphere from precursor gases, and their subsequent growth, commonly known as new particle formation (NPF) events, is one of the largest challenges in atmospheric aerosol science. High pre-existing particle loadings are expected to suppress the formation of new atmospheric aerosol particles due to high coagulation and condensation (CS) sinks. However, NPF events are regularly observed in conditions with high concentrations of pre-existing particles and even during intense desert dust intrusions that imply discrepancies between the observations and theory. In this study, we present a multi-site analysis of the occurrence of NPF events under the presence of desert dust particles in dust-influenced areas. Characterization of NPF events at five different locations highly influenced by desert dust outbreaks was done under dusty and non-dusty conditions using continuous measurements of aerosol size distribution in both fine and coarse size fractions. Contrary to common thought, our results show that the occurrence of NPF events is highly frequent during desert dust outbreaks, showing that NPF event frequencies during dusty conditions are similar to those observed during non-dusty conditions. Furthermore, our results show that NPF events also occur during intense desert dust outbreaks at all the studied sites, even at remote sites where the amounts of precursor vapours are expected to be low. Our results show that the condensation sink associated with coarse particles (CSC) represents up to the 60% of the total CS during dusty conditions, which highlights the importance of considering coarse-fraction particles for NPF studies in desert-dust-influenced areas. However, we did not find a clear pattern of the effect of desert dust outbreaks on the strength of NPF events, with differences from site to site. The particle growth rate (GR) did not present a clear dependence on the CS during dusty and non-dusty conditions. This result, together with the fact that desert dust has different effects on the growth and formation rates at each site, suggests different formation and growth mechanisms at each site between dusty and non-dusty conditions, probably due to differences in precursor vapours' origins and concentrations as well as changes in the oxidative capacity of pre-existing particles and their effectiveness acting as CS. Further investigation based on multiplatform measurement campaigns and chamber experiments with state-of-the-art gaseous and particulate physical and chemical properties measurements is needed to better understand the role of catalyst components present in desert dust particles in NPF. Finally, our results reveal a significant impact of NPF events on the cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) budget during desert dust outbreaks at the studied sites. Therefore, since desert dust contributes to a major fraction of the global aerosol mass load, and since there is a foreseeable increase in the frequency, duration and intensity of desert dust episodes due to climate change, it is imperative to improve our understanding of the effect of desert dust outbreaks on NPF and the CCN budget for better climate change prediction.

TidskriftAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Sidor (från-till)15795-15814
Antal sidor20
StatusPublicerad - 22 dec. 2023
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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