Urban aerosol size distributions: a global perspective.

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Date: June 11, 2021
From: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics(Vol. 21, Issue 11)
Publisher: Copernicus GmbH
Document Type: Article
Length: 426 words

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Abstract :

Urban aerosol measurements are necessary to establish associations between air pollution and human health outcomes and to evaluate the efficacy of air quality legislation and emissions standards. The measurement of urban aerosol particle size distributions (PSDs) is of particular importance as they enable characterization of size-dependent processes that govern a particle's transport, transformation, and fate in the urban atmosphere. PSDs also improve our ability to link air pollution to health effects through evaluation of particle deposition in the respiratory system and inhalation toxicity. To inform future measurements of urban aerosol observations, this paper reviews and critically analyzes the current state of knowledge on urban aerosol PSD measurements by synthesizing 737 PSD observations made between 1998 to 2017 in 114 cities in 43 countries around the globe. Significant variations in the shape and magnitude of urban aerosol number and mass PSDs were identified among different geographical regions. In general, number PSDs in Europe (EU) and North America, Australia, and New Zealand (NAAN) are dominated by nucleation- and Aitken-mode particles. PSDs in Central, South, and Southeast Asia (CSSA) and East Asia (EA) are shifted to larger sizes, with a meaningful contribution from the accumulation mode. Urban mass PSDs are typically bimodal, presenting a dominant mode in the accumulation mode and a secondary mode in the coarse mode. Most PSD observations published in the literature are short-term, with only 14 % providing data for longer than 6 months. There is a paucity of PSDs measured in Africa (AF), CSSA, Latin America (LA), and West Asia (WA), demonstrating the need for long-term aerosol measurements across wide size ranges in many cities around the globe. Geographical variations in urban aerosol effective densities were also reviewed. Size-resolved urban aerosol effective density functions from 3 to 10 000 nm were established for different geographical regions and intra-city sampling locations in order to accurately translate number PSDs to mass PSDs, with significant variations observed between near-road and urban background sites. The results of this study demonstrate that global initiatives are urgently needed to develop infrastructure for routine and long-term monitoring of urban aerosol PSDs spanning the nucleation to coarse mode. Doing so will advance our understanding of spatiotemporal trends in urban PSDs throughout the world and provide a foundation to more reliably elucidate the impact of urban aerosols on atmospheric processes, human health, and climate.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A664891891