Ambient aerosol size distributions and number concentrations measured during the Pittsburgh Air Quality Study (PAQS)

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Twelve months of aerosol size distributions from 3 to 560nm, measured using scanning mobility particle sizers are presented with an emphasis on average number, surface, and volume distributions, and seasonal and diurnal variation. The measurements were made at the main sampling site of the Pittsburgh Air Quality Study from July 2001 to June 2002. These are supplemented with 5 months of size distribution data from 0.5 to 2.5μm measured with a TSI aerosol particle sizer and 2 months of size distributions measured at an upwind rural sampling site. Measurements at the main site were made continuously under both low and ambient relative humidity. The average Pittsburgh number concentration (3-500nm) is 22,000cm-3 with an average mode size of 40nm. Strong diurnal patterns in number concentrations are evident as a direct effect of the sources of particles (atmospheric nucleation, traffic, and other combustion sources). New particle formation from homogeneous nucleation is significant on 30-50% of study days and over a wide area (at least a hundred kilometers). Rural number concentrations are a factor of 2-3 lower (on average) than the urban values. Average measured distributions are different from model literature urban and rural size distributions. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.






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Stanier, CO, AY Khlystov and SN Pandis (2004). Ambient aerosol size distributions and number concentrations measured during the Pittsburgh Air Quality Study (PAQS). Atmospheric Environment, 38(20). pp. 3275–3284. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2004.03.020 Retrieved from

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