Publication details

A seven-year-based characterization of aerosol light scattering properties at a rural central European site

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Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Atmospheric Environment
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Aerosol optical properties; Scattering coefficient; Nephelometer; Long-term temporal variations
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Description Our study investigates the temporal variability of aerosol light scattering properties measured at three wave-lengths (total scattering coefficient, backscattering coefficient, Angstrom scattering exponent, hemispheric backscattering ratio and asymmetry parameter) at the rural background site of the National Atmospheric Observatory Kosetice over a period of over seven years (2012-2019). The influence of fog and cloudiness on aerosol light scattering properties (ASP), together with their comparison to particle number size distribution was also investigated. The overall medians of total scattering (sigma(sp)) and backscattering coefficient (sigma(bsp)), hemispheric backscattering ratio (b) and asymmetry parameter (g) measured at 550 nm and Angstrom scattering exponent (SAE_450/700) were 35.20 Mm(-1), 5.07 Mm(-1), 0.14 and 0.57 and 1.82, respectively. sigma(sp) and g decreased by 2.05 Mm(-1)/year, and 0.009/year, respectively, whereas b increased by 0.004/year. The selected aerosol properties were strongly correlated with particle number, mass, area and volume concentrations in the 200-800 nm mode. A decrease in SAE_450/700 implies a shift towards larger particle sizes, and evolutions in b and g suggest a higher backscattering portion to total scattering. The highest sigma(sp) and sigma(bsp) levels were observed in the cold seasons together with higher concentrations of air pollutants (carbonaceous aerosol, SO2 and NOx). This could be explained by enhanced emissions from human activities such as domestic heating combined with the higher stability of the atmosphere (poor atmospheric dispersion). In the summer, decreases in particle size and higher rates of backscatter fraction were attributed to secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation. The accumulation mode showed the strongest aerosol scattering potential, with SAE_450/700 values < 2. Aerosol light scattering was significantly higher during overcast and foggy days compared to fine, cloudy, partly cloudy and no-fog days, possibly due to the particle hygroscopic growth under high relative humidity (shift of particle size towards larger sizes), which in turn can lead to a lower aerosol backscattering fraction. Source identification linked the changes in ASP to the synoptic situation over Europe rather than to specific sources of pollution.
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