Ambient particles vary greatly in their ability to affect visibility, climate and human health. The fine fraction of aerosol is responsible for greater and wider effects on human health; thus, investigation of this fraction is very important. Continuous measurements of PM2.5 (particulate matter below 2.5 mu m in size) concentrations at the Preila monitoring station started in 2003. During a period of 2 years, the episodes of high daily and semi-hourly concentrations of PM2.5 were measured. These episodes did not depend on the season or time of day. The substantial role of long-range transport of pollutants to these increases in concentration was shown using chemical and statistical analysis. It was found that most of the severe episodes occurred when air masses came from a specific site besides it was established that air masses of different origin were characterized by different mixing layer depth. Lower mixing depth was observed in air masses characterized by higher observed concentrations at the measuring site and vice versa. PM2.5 concentrations showed diurnal and seasonal variations whose pattern reflected the regional origin of the aerosol. The regional pollution level was evaluated by the statistical analysis of PM2.5 concentrations. The background annual average of PM2.5 mass concentration for the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea was 15.1 +/- 0.8 mu g m(-3).