Measurement of aerosol number size distributions in the Yangtze River delta in China: Formation and growth of particles under polluted conditions

Jian Gao, Tao Wang, Xuehua Zhou, Waishing Wu, Wenxing Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

146 Citations (Scopus)


Particle size distribution is important for understanding the sources and effects of atmospheric aerosols. In this paper we present particle number size distributions (10 nm-10 μm) measured at a suburban site in the fast developing Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region (near Shanghai) in summer 2005. The average number concentrations of ultrafine (10-100 nm) particles were 2-3 times higher than those reported in the urban areas of North America and Europe. The number fraction of the ultrafine particles to total particle count was also 20-30% higher. The sharp increases in ultrafine particle number concentrations were frequently observed in late morning, and the particle bursts on 5 of the 12 nucleation event days can be attributed to the homogeneous nucleation leading to new particle formation. The new particle formation events were characterized with a larger number of nucleation-mode particles, larger particle surface area, and larger condensational sink than usually reported in the literature. These suggest an intense production of sulfuric acid from photo-oxidation of sulfur dioxide in the YRD. Overall, the growth rate of newly formed particles was moderate (6.4 ± 1.6 nm h-1), which was comparable to that reported in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-836
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • New particle formation
  • Photochemical activity
  • Shanghai
  • Sulfur dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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