Decreasing trends of particle number and black carbon mass concentrations at 16 observational sites in Germany from 2009 to 2018

Sun, Jia; Birmili, Wolfram; Hermann, Markus; Tuch, Thomas; Weinhold, Kay; Merkel, Maik; Rasch, Fabian; Müller, Thomas; Schladitz, Alexander; Bastian, Susanne; Löschau, Gunter; Cyrys, Josef; Gu, Jianwei; Flentje, Harald; Briel, Björn; Asbach, Christoph; Kaminski, Heinz; Ries, Ludwig; Sohmer, Ralf; Gerwig, Holger; Wirtz, Klaus; Meinhardt, Frank; Schwerin, Andreas; Bath, Olaf; Ma, Nan; Wiedensohler, Alfred

Anthropogenic emissions are dominant contributors to air pollution. Consequently, mitigation policies have been attempted since the 1990s in Europe to reduce pollution by anthropogenic emissions. To evaluate the effectiveness of these mitigation policies, the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN) was established in 2008, focusing on black carbon (BC) and sub-micrometre aerosol particles. In this study, long-term trends of atmospheric particle number concentrations (PNCs) and equivalent BC (eBC) mass concentration over a 10-year period (2009–2018) were determined for 16 GUAN sites ranging from roadside to high Alpine environments. Overall, statistically significant decreasing trends are found for most of these parameters and environments in Germany. The annual relative slope of eBC mass concentration varies between inline-formula−13.1 % and inline-formula−1.7 % per year. The slopes of the PNCs vary from inline-formula−17.2 % to inline-formula−1.7 %, inline-formula−7.8 % to inline-formula−1.1 %, and inline-formula−11.1 % to inline-formula−1.2 % per year for 10–30, 30–200, and 200–800 nm size ranges, respectively. The reductions in various anthropogenic emissions are found to be the dominant factors responsible for the decreasing trends of eBC mass concentration and PNCs. The diurnal and seasonal variations in the trends clearly show the effects of the mitigation policies for road transport and residential emissions. The influences of other factors such as air masses, precipitation, and temperature were also examined and found to be less important or negligible. This study proves that a combination of emission mitigation policies can effectively improve the air quality on large spatial scales. It also suggests that a long-term aerosol measurement network at multi-type sites is an efficient and necessary tool for evaluating emission mitigation policies.

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Sun, Jia / Birmili, Wolfram / Hermann, Markus / et al: Decreasing trends of particle number and black carbon mass concentrations at 16 observational sites in Germany from 2009 to 2018. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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