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

Category: Aerosol and Trace Gas Climatology

Volume: 16 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 816-826
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0341

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To cite this article:
Hallar, A.G., Petersen, R., McCubbin, I.B., Lowenthal, D., Lee, S., Andrews, E. and Yu, F. (2016). Climatology of New Particle Formation and Corresponding Precursors at Storm Peak Laboratory. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 16: 816-826. doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0341.

A. Gannet Hallar 1, 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.


New particle formation Mountain site Sulfur dioxide measurements

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