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Volume 16, No. 3, March 2016, Pages 816-826 PDF(3.41 MB)  
doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0341   

Climatology of New Particle Formation and Corresponding Precursors at Storm Peak Laboratory

A. Gannet Hallar1, Ross Petersen1, Ian B. McCubbin1, Doug Lowenthal2, Shanhu Lee3, Elisabeth Andrews4,6, Fangqun Yu5

1 Storm Peak Laboratory, Desert Research Institute, Steamboat Springs, CO, USA
2 Desert Research Institute, Division of Atmospheric Science, Reno, NV, USA
3 University of Alabama in Huntsville, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Huntsville, Alabama, USA
4 Global Monitoring Division, Earth System Research Laboratory, NOAA, Boulder, Colorado, USA
5 Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, SUNY, Albany, NY, USA
6 Also at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA


  • Results have implications for nucleation, key parameters controlling NPF in remote atmosphere.
  • Coal-fired power plants are west of SPL, concentrations of SO2 suggest this source region for NPF.
  • Data implies role of H2SO4, stemming from SO2 from power plants, on aerosol concentration.
  • Data can help evaluate nucleation theories and performance of regional and global aerosol models.



Thirteen years of measurements of ultrafine (3–10 nm diameter) aerosols are presented from a remote high elevation (3210 m a.s.l.) site in Colorado, Storm Peak Laboratory. Previous work has shown that frequent new particle formation (NPF) occurs regularly at the site (52% of days). This long-term climatology of ultrafine aerosols clearly shows a seasonal dependence on new particle formation at Storm Peak Laboratory, reaching a maximum during the spring season and a minimum in summer. Recent sulfur dioxide data indicates a strong source region west of Storm Peak Laboratory, and this wind direction corresponds to the predominant wind direction observed during NPF events.



Keywords: New particle formation; Mountain site; Sulfur dioxide measurements.



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