Studying the characteristics of new particle formation (NPF) is important as it is generally recognized as a major contributor to particle pollution in urban environments. We investigated NPF events that occurred during a 1-year period in the urban environment of Brisbane, Australia, using a neutral cluster and air ion spectrometer (NAIS) which is able to monitor both neutral and charged particles and clusters down to a size of 0.8 nm. NPF events occurred on 41% of days, with the occurrence rate of 7% greater in the summer than in the winter. We derived the first diurnal event distribution of NPF events anywhere in the world and showed that the most probable starting time of an NPF event was near 08:30 a.m., being about an hour earlier in the winter than in the summer. During NPF days, 10% of particles were charged. The mean neutral and charged particle concentrations on NPF days were, respectively, 49% and 14% higher than those on non-event days. The mean formation rate of 2–3 nm particles during an NPF event was 20.8 cm−3 s−1. The formation rate of negatively charged particles was about 10% higher than that of positively charged particles. The mean particle growth rate in the size range up to 20 nm was 6.2 nm h−1. These results are compared and contrasted with corresponding values that have been derived with the scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) at the same location and with values that have been reported with the NAIS at other locations around the world. This is the first comprehensive study of the characteristics of NPF events over a significantly long period in Australia.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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