Aerosol Measurements in the Atmospheric Surface Layer at L'Aquila, Italy: Focus on Biogenic Primary Particles
Two year measurements of aerosol concentration and size distribution (0.25 μm < d < 30 μm) in the atmospheric surface layer, collected in L'Aquila (Italy) with an optical particle counter, are reported and analysed for the different modes of the particle size distribution. A different seasonal behaviour is shown for fine mode aerosols (largely produced by anthropogenic combustion), coarse mode and large-sized aerosols, whose abundance is regulated not only by anthropogenic local production, but also by remote natural sources (via large scale atmospheric transport) and by local sources of primary biogenic aerosols. The observed total abundance of large particles with diameter larger than 10 μm is compared with a statistical counting of primary biogenic particles, made with an independent technique. Results of these two observational approaches are analysed and compared to each other, with the help of a box model driven by observed meteorological parameters and validated with measurements of fine and coarse mode aerosols and of an atmospheric primary pollutant of anthropogenic origin (NOx). Except in winter months, primary biogenic particles in the L'Aquila measurement site are shown to dominate the atmospheric boundary layer population of large aerosol particles with diameter larger than 10 μm (about 80 % of the total during summer months), with a pronounced seasonal cycle, contrary to fine mode aerosols of anthropogenic origin. In order to explain these findings, the main mechanisms controlling the abundance and variability of particulate matter tracers in the atmospheric surface layer are analysed with the numerical box-model.