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Dispersion of a Traffic Related Nanocluster Aerosol Near a Major Road

Aerosol Physics Laboratory, Physics Unit, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Tampere University, P.O. Box 692, FI-33014 Tampere, Finland
Department of Technology, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 4021, FI-00180 Helsinki, Finland
Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 64, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority, P.O. Box 100, FI-00066 HSY Helsinki, Finland
Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, P.O. Box 503, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(6), 309;
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 31 May 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticles in the Atmosphere)
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Traffic is a major source of ultrafine aerosol particles in urban environments. Recent studies show that a significant fraction of traffic-related particles are only few nanometers in diameter. Here, we study the dispersion of this nanocluster aerosol (NCA) in the size range 1.3–4 nm. We measured particle concentrations near a major highway in the Helsinki region of Finland, varying the distance from the highway. Additionally, modelling studies were performed to gain further information on how different transformation processes affect NCA dispersion. The roadside measurements showed that NCA concentrations fell more rapidly than the total particle concentrations, especially during the morning. However, a significant amount of NCA particles remained as the aerosol population evolved. Modelling studies showed that, while dilution is the main process acting on the total particle concentration, deposition also had a significant impact. Condensation and possibly enhanced deposition of NCA were the main plausible processes explaining why dispersion is faster for NCA than for total particle concentration, while the effect of coagulation on all size ranges was small. Based on our results, we conclude that NCA may play a significant role in urban environments, since, rather than being scavenged by larger particles, NCA particles remain in the particle population and grow by condensation. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanocluster aerosol; dispersion; aerosol modelling nanocluster aerosol; dispersion; aerosol modelling

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Kangasniemi, O.; Kuuluvainen, H.; Heikkilä, J.; Pirjola, L.; Niemi, J.V.; Timonen, H.; Saarikoski, S.; Rönkkö, T.; Dal Maso, M. Dispersion of a Traffic Related Nanocluster Aerosol Near a Major Road. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 309.

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