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Contribution of new particle formation to the total aerosol concentration at the high-altitude site Jungfraujoch (3580masl, Switzerland)

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Trostl J., Herrmann E., Frege C., Bianchi F., Molteni U., Bukowiecki N., Hoyle C. R., Steinbacher M., Weingartner E., Dommen J., Gysel M., Baltensperger U.,
Project Beitrag an den Unterhalt und Betrieb der Hochalpinen Forschungsstationen Jungfraujoch und Gornergrat, 2015-2017
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres
Volume (Issue) 121
Page(s) 11692 - 11711
Title of proceedings Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres
DOI 10.1002/2015jd024637

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Previous modeling studies hypothesized that a large fraction of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) is attributed to new particle formation (NPF) in the free troposphere. Despite the potential importance of this process, only few long-term observations have been performed to date. Here we present the results of a 12month campaign of NPF observations at the high-altitude site Jungfraujoch (JFJ, 3580mabove sea level (asl)). Our results show that NPF significantly adds to the total aerosol concentration at the JFJ and only occurs via previous precursor entrainment from the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Freshly nucleated particles do not directly grow to CCN size (90nm) within observable time scales (maximum 48h). The contribution of NPF to the CCN concentration is low within this time frame compared to other sources, such as PBL entrainment of larger particles. A multistep growth mechanism is proposed which allows previously formed Aitken mode particles to add to the CCN concentration. A parametrization is derived to explain formation rates at the JFJ, showing that precursor concentration, PBL influence, and global radiation are the key factors controlling new particle formation at the site.