Comparison of atmospheric new particle formation events in three Central European cities

Z. Németh, Bernadette Rosati, Naděžda Zíková, I. Salma, László Bozó, Carmen Dameto de España, Jaroslav Schwarz, Vladimír Ždímal, Anna Wonaschütz

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Simultaneous particle number size distribution measurements were performed in the urban environment of Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, three Central European cities located within 450 km of each other. The measurement days from the continuous, 2-year long campaign were classified for new particle formation (NPF) events using an adapted classification scheme for urban sites. The total numbers of NPF event days were 152 for Budapest, 69 for Vienna, and 143 for Prague. There were 12 days when new particle formation took place at all three sites; 11 out of these 12 days were in spring and in summer. There were only 2 (Budapest-Vienna), 19 (Budapest-Prague), and 19 (Vienna-Prague) nucleation days, when NPF did not occur on the third site. The main difference was related to source and sink terms of gas-phase sulphuric acid. Air mass origin and back-trajectories did not show any substantial influence on the atmospheric nucleation phenomena. The relative contribution of particles from NPF with respect to regional aerosol to the particles originating from all sources was expressed as nucleation strength factor. The overall mean nucleation strength factors were 1.58, 1.54, and 2.01 for Budapest, Vienna, and Prague, respectively, and showed diurnal and seasonal variations. The monthly mean NSF varied from 1.2 to 3.2 in Budapest, from 0.7 to 1.9 in Vienna, and from 1.0 to 2.3 in Prague. This implies that the new particle formation in cities is a significant source of ultrafine (UF) particles, and the amount of them is comparable to the directly emitted UF particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2018



  • New particle formation
  • Nucleation strength factor
  • Particle number concentration
  • Particle number size distribution
  • Ultrafine particles
  • Urban environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Németh, Z., Rosati, B., Zíková, N., Salma, I., Bozó, L., Dameto de España, C., Schwarz, J., Ždímal, V., & Wonaschütz, A. (2018). Comparison of atmospheric new particle formation events in three Central European cities. Atmospheric Environment, 178, 191-197.