Global analysis of continental boundary layer new particle formation based on long-term measurements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Tuomo Nieminen
  • Veli-Matti Kerminen
  • Tuukka Petäjä
  • Pasi P. Aalto
  • Mikhail Arshinov
  • Eija Asmi
  • Urs Baltensperger
  • Johan Paul Beukes
  • Don Collins
  • Aijun Ding Ding
  • Bas Henzing
  • Rakesh Hooda
  • Min Hu
  • Urmas Hõrrak
  • Niku Kivekäs
  • Kaupo Komsaare
  • Radovan Krejci
  • Adam Kristensson
  • Lauri Laakso
  • Ari Laaksonen
  • W. Richard Leaitch
  • Heikki Lihavainen
  • Nikolaos Mihalopoulos
  • Zoltán Németh
  • Wei Nie
  • Colin O’Dowd
  • Imre Salma
  • Karine Sellegri
  • Birgitta Svenningsson
  • Erik Swietlicki
  • Peter Tunved
  • Vidmantas Ulevicius
  • Ville Vakkari
  • Marko Vana
  • Alfred Wiedensohler
  • Zhijun Wu
  • Annele Virtanen
  • Markku Kulmala

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research/Physics, Faculty of Science, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • V.E. Zuev Institute of Atmospheric Optics SB RAS, Tomsk, Russia
  • Department of Environmental Sciences / Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80203, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen, Switzerland
  • Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA
  • Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • The Energy and Resources Institute, IHC, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, India
  • Peking University
  • Institute of Physics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
  • Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry & Bolin Centre of Climate Research, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Department of Physics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • 18Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • Department of Chemistry, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
  • Institute of Chemistry, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary
  • School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
  • Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand, Université Clermont-Auvergne, CNRS UMR6016, Aubière, France
  • Department of Environmental Research, SRI Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • 24Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland


Atmospheric new particle formation (NPF) is an important phenomenon in terms of global particle number concentrations. Here we investigated the frequency of NPF, formation rates of 10nm particles, and growth rates in the size range of 10–25nm using at least 1 year of aerosol number size-distribution observations at 36 different locations around the world. The majority of these measurement sites are in the Northern Hemisphere. We found that the NPF frequency has a strong seasonal variability. At the measurement sites analyzed in this study, NPF occurs most frequently in March–May (on about 30% of the days) and least frequently in December–February (about 10% of the days). The median formation rate of 10nm particles varies by about 3 orders of magnitude (0.01–10cm−3s−1) and the growth rate by about an order of magnitude (1–10nmh−1). The smallest values of both formation and growth rates were observed at polar sites and the largest ones in urban environments or anthropogenically influenced rural sites. The correlation between the NPF event frequency and the particle formation and growth rate was at best moderate among the different measurement sites, as well as among the sites belonging to a certain environmental regime. For a better understanding of atmospheric NPF and its regional importance, we would need more observational data from different urban areas in practically all parts of the world, from additional remote and rural locations in North America, Asia, and most of the Southern Hemisphere (especially Australia), from polar areas, and from at least a few locations over the oceans.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14737-14756
Number of pages20
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018