Atmospheric new particle formation at Utö, Baltic Sea 2003–2005


*Corresponding author.


Nearly 3 yr (March 2003–December 2005) of continuous particle number size distribution measurements have been conducted at the island of Utö in the Baltic Sea. The measured particle size range was from 7 to 530 nm. During the measurement period, a total of 103 regional new-particle formation events were observed. The characteristics of the nucleation events at Utö were similar to those reported in the literature in other Nordic sites, though measured condensation sinks were rather high (geometric mean of 3.8 × 10−3 s−1) during event days. Clear evidence was found that new particles nucleate regionally near Utö, rather than are transported from greater distances. However, the Baltic Sea seems to have an inhibiting effect on new-particle formation. The boreal forest areas in the continental Finland were found to have an enhancing effect on the nucleation probability in Utö, suggesting that at least some of the precursor gases for nucleation and/or condensational growth of particles originate from these forests. In addition to regional new-particle formation events, a total of 94 local events were observed in Utö. These are short-lived events with a small footprint area, and can at least partly be tracked down to the emissions of ship traffic operating at Utö.