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Reade, K., Jennings, S.G., and McSweeney, G
Atmospheric Research
Cloud condensation nuclei measurements at Mace head, Ireland, over the period 1994-2002
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Analyses of cloud condensation -nuclei (CCN) number concentrations (cm-3) measured at the Mace Head Atmospheric Research Station, near Carna, County Galway, Ireland, using a DH Associates Model M1 static thermal diffusion cloud chamber over the period from March 1994 to September 2002 are presented in this work. Air masses are defined as being 'marine' if they originate from a wind direction of 180-300 and 'continental' air masses are defined as originating from a wind direction of 45-135. Air masses without such filtering were classified as 'undefined' air masses. Air masses were found to be dominated by marine sector air, re-affirming Mace Head as a baseline atmospheric research station. CCN levels for specific air masses at Mace Head were found to be comparable with earlier studies both at Mace Head and elsewhere. Monthly averaged clean marine (wind direction of 180-300 and black carbon absorption coefficient <1.425 Mm-1) CCN and marine CCN varied between 15-247 cm-3 and 54-670 cm-3, respectively. As expected, significant increases in number concentration were found in continentally sourced CCN over that of marine CCN and were found to follow a log-normal distribution significantly tighter than that of clean marine air masses. No significant trend was found for CCN over the 9-year period. While polluted continental air masses showed a slight increase in CCN concentrations over the winter months, most likely due to increased fuel usage and a lower mixed boundary layer, the dominance of marine sector air arriving at Mace Head, which generally consists of background CCN concentrations, reduced seasonal differences for polluted air. Marine air showed a distinct seasonal pattern, with elevated values occurring over the spring and summer seasons. This is thought to be due to enhanced biogenic aerosol production as a result of phytoplankton bloom activity in the North Atlantic.
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