Nucleation of atmospheric particles
Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Two types of particles exist in the atmosphere, primary and secondary particles. While primary particles such as soot, mineral dust, sea salt particles or pollen are introduced directly as particles into the atmosphere, secondary particles are formed in the atmosphere by condensation of gases. The formation of such new aerosol particles takes place frequently and at a broad variety of atmospheric conditions and geographic locations. A considerable fraction of the atmospheric particles is formed by such nucleation processes. The newly formed particles may grow by condensation to sizes where they are large enough to act as cloud condensation nuclei and therefore may aﬀect cloud properties. The fundamental processes of aerosol nucleation are described and typical atmospheric observations are discussed. Two recent studies are introduced that potentially change our current understanding of atmospheric nucleation substantially.
© EDP Sciences, 2009