Remarkable dynamics of nanoparticles in the urban atmosphere

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • A Thorpe
  • JF Barlow
  • T Dunbar
  • PI Williams
  • H Coe


Nanoparticles emitted from road traffic are the largest source of respiratory exposure for the general public living in urban areas. It has been suggested that adverse health effects of airborne particles may scale with airborne particle number, which if correct, focuses attention on the nanoparticle (less than 100 nm) size range which dominates the number count in urban areas. Urban measurements of particle size distributions have tended to show a broadly similar pattern dominated by a mode centred on 20-30 nm diameter emitted by diesel engine exhaust. In this paper we report the results of measurements of particle number concentration and size distribution made in a major London park as well as on the BT Tower, 160m aloft. These measurements taken during the REPARTEE project (Regents Park and BT Tower experiment) show a remarkable shift in particle size distributions with major losses of the smallest particle class as particles are advected away from the traffic source. In the Park, the traffic related mode at 20-30 nm diameter is much reduced with a new mode at


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6623-6637
Number of pages15
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011