GUAN Results 2009-2010

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Ultrafine particles (diameter < 100 nm) are considered as a fraction of atmospheric particulate matter that is associated with adverse health effects. Consequently, there is a strong interest in elucidating the abundance of these particles in our environment as well as their ultimate effects upon human health. However, data on ultrafine particles have previously not been available on a wide basis. This project closed this gap for Germany in that it generated new data and study material to scientifically motivate new measurement parameters for ultrafine particles. The main achievement has been the establishment of the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network (GUAN), a cooperative network that encompasses all long-term atmospheric particle number size distribution and soot mass concentration measurements in Germany. GUAN enjoys state-of-the-art measurement techniques while its sophisticated data assurance procedures warrant a high comparability of the measurement data. Time series collected at eleven observation sites since 2008 show that ultrafine particles correlate only insufficiently with traditional air quality parameters (PM10, NOx). Due to their specific sources and atmospheric life-time, they need to be described by independent parameters. Ultrafine particles show a significantly higher spatial and temporal variability than, for example, particulate mass concentrations. Chemical analyses revealed high mass fractions of elemental carbon and further carbonaceous compounds, which emphasises the particles‘ health relevance. Particle size distributions, soot mass concentrations and chemical composition measurements from GUAN have already been used to great extent by atmospheric research. Future plans suggest to use the data actively in health-related studies. The data is also recommended as a basis to scrutinise alternative regulatory metrics to describe particle exposure.

Particle number size distributions measured by TDMPS and SMPS

The following Figure compares illustrates particle number and mass concentrations collected in GUAN during 2009 and 2010.

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Figure: Mean particle number size distributions in GUAN, 2009-2010.

Annual cycles of particle number and mass concentrations

The following Figure illustrates particle number and mass concentrations collected in GUAN during 2009 and 2010.

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Figure: Annual cycles of particle number and mass concentrations in GUAN, 2009-2010.

Diurnal cycles of particle number and mass concentrations

The following Figure illustrates particle number and mass concentrations collected in GUAN during 2009 and 2010.

Figure:Diurnal cycles of particle number and mass concentrations in GUAN, 2009-2010.

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Click here to return to the German Ultrafine Aerosol Network Main Page.

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