Overview of aerosol properties associated with air masses sampled by the ATR-42 during the EUCAARI campaign (2008)
Within the frame of the European Aerosol Cloud Climate and Air Quality Interactions (EUCAARI) project, the Météo-France aircraft ATR-42 performed 22 research flights over central Europe and the North Sea during the intensive observation period in May 2008. For the campaign, the ATR-42 was equipped to study the aerosol physical, chemical, hygroscopic and optical properties, as well as cloud microphysics. For the 22 research flights, retroplume analyses along the flight tracks were performed with FLEXPART in order to classify air masses into five sectors of origin, allowing for a qualitative evaluation of emission influence on the respective air parcel.
This study shows that the extensive aerosol parameters (aerosol mass and number concentrations) show vertical decreasing gradients and in some air masses maximum mass concentrations (mainly organics) in an intermediate layer (1–3 km). The observed mass concentrations (in the boundary layer (BL): between 10 and 30 μg m −3; lower free troposphere (LFT): 0.8 and 14 μg m −3) are high especially in comparison with the 2015 European norms for PM 2.5 (25 μg m −3) and with previous airborne studies performed over England (Morgan et al., 2009; McMeeking et al., 2012).
Particle number size distributions show a larger fraction of particles in the accumulation size range in the LFT compared to BL. The chemical composition of submicron aerosol particles is dominated by organics in the BL, while ammonium sulphate dominates the submicron aerosols in the LFT, especially in the aerosol particles originated from north-eastern Europe (~ 80%), also experiencing nucleation events along the transport. As a consequence, first the particle CCN acting ability, shown by the CCN/CN ratio, and second the average values of the scattering cross sections of optically active particles (i.e. scattering coefficient divided by the optical active particle concentration) are increased in the LFT compared to BL.