Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Nucleation mode particles in upslope valley winds at Mount Norikura, Japan: Implications for the vertical extent of new particle formation events in the lower troposphere



[1] Number-size distributions of atmospheric aerosol particles of 9–300 nm diameter were observed along with SO2 and NH3 concentrations at Mount Norikura, Japan (36.1°N, 137.5°E, 2770 m asl), during September 2001 and August–September 2002. Particle size distributions between the free troposphere and the mixed layer were measured at the site under local wind system conditions, comprising downslope mountain and upslope valley winds. The local wind system was well developed under clear-sky conditions and was determined according to temporal variation of the water vapor mixing ratio at the site. Nucleation mode particles were observed on 4 of 23 clear-sky days during our observation periods. Nucleation mode particles were observed in the mixed layer air, but never in the free tropospheric air, suggesting that new particle formation occurred in the air transported from the mixed layer. Nucleation-mode-particle growth rates during new particle formation events were 2.6–3.1 nm h−1. Preexisting particle concentrations on event days were about half those of nonevent sunny days on average, but no positive correlation was found between the events and either SO2 or NH3 concentrations. The events always occurred in a cold air mass advected from the north behind cold fronts. Horizontal advection of the northern cold air mass might bring a clean air mass with low preexisting particle concentration in the mixed layer and trigger a new particle formation event at Mount Norikura.