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Transportable Aerosol Characterization Trailer with Trace Gas Chemistry: Design, Instruments and Verification

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Volume: 13 | Issue: 2 | Pages: 421-435
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2012.08.0207
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T. Petäjä 1, V. Vakkari1, T. Pohja2, T. Nieminen1, H. Laakso2, P.P. Aalto1, P. Keronen1, E. Siivola1, V.-M. Kerminen1,3, M. Kulmala1, L. Laakso3,4

  • 1 Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2 Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station, Hyytiäläntie 124, FI-35500 Korkeakoski, Finland
  • 3 School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
  • 4 Finnish Meteorological Institute, Research and Development, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101, Finland


The characterization of atmospheric aerosol properties and trace gas concentrations in various environments provides a basis for scientific research on the assessment of their roles in the climate system, as well as regional air quality issues. However, measurements of these face many problems in the developing world. In this study we present the design of a transportable aerosol dynamic and atmospheric research trailer, which relies minimally on the existing infrastructure by making use of wireless data transfer. The instrumentation used in this trailer was originally used in various aerosol formation studies, and has been expanded so that it can also monitor air quality. The instruments include a Differential Mobility Particle Sizer (DMPS) for aerosol number size distribution in the range 10–840 nm, a Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM) for aerosol mass concentration, and Air Ion Spectrometer (AIS) for atmospheric ion measurements in the size range 0.5–40 nm. Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and ozone mixing ratios are also monitored, as well as photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and meteorological parameters. As we have already operated the trailer in South Africa for several years, we discuss the lessons learned during the first years of use in the field.


Atmospheric aerosol particles Atmospheric pollution Trace gases Climate change Air quality

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