Although they are currently unregulated, atmospheric ultrafine particles (<100 nm) pose health risks because of, e.g., their capability to penetrate deep into the respiratory system. Ultrafine particles, often minor contributors to atmospheric particulate mass, typically dominate aerosol particle number concentrations. We simulated the response of particle number concentrations over Europe to recent estimates of future emission reductions of aerosol particles and their precursors. We used the chemical transport model PMCAMx-UF, with novel updates including state-of-the-art descriptions of ammonia and dimethylamine new particle formation (NPF) pathways and the condensation of organic compounds onto particles. These processes had notable impacts on atmospheric particle number concentrations. All three emission scenarios (current legislation, optimized emissions, and maximum technically feasible reductions) resulted in substantial (10-50%) decreases in median particle number concentrations over Europe. Consistent reductions were predicted in Central Europe, while Northern Europe exhibited smaller reductions or even increased concentrations. Motivated by the improved NPF descriptions for ammonia and methylamines, we placed special focus on the potential to improve air quality by reducing agricultural emissions, which are a major source of these species. Agricultural emission controls showed promise in reducing ultrafine particle number concentrations, although the change is nonlinear with particle size.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry