EESS talk on "Chasing pre-industrial aerosol around the globe"


Event details

Date 27.02.2024
Hour 12:1513:15
Speaker Prof. Frederico Bianchi, Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research INAR, University of Helsinki, Finland
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Atmospheric aerosols affect the climate directly by absorbing or scattering incoming radiation and indirectly by acting as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) changing therefore the cloud albedo. A major fraction of these CCN comes from gas to particle conversion (nucleation). During the last decade, several nucleation studies have been published based on field observations, however most of them in the planetary boundary layer. Therefore, only little information is available about the free troposphere.The aim of this presentation is to elucidate the latest founding about what species contribute to new particle formation (NPF) in remote places, especially at high altitude.In the last years, we have used state-of-the-art instruments, first at the Swiss high alpine research
station Jungfraujoch (3580 m asl, Bianchi et al., 2016), at the Himalayan Nepal Climate Observatory Pyramid (NCO-P) site on the southern slope of the Himalayas, not far from Everest base camp (5079 m asl)(Bianchi et al., 2021) and finally at the Chacaltaya station in Bolivia (520 m asl)(Bianchi et al.,
2022). Previous studies have already showed that at all these locations NPF takes place frequently. However, the chemical information of the condensable vapours driving NPF is still missing.Our latest measurements conducted at the Chacaltaya station reveal that oxidized organic molecules (OOMs), derived from biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by the Amazon rainforest, may play an important role in NPF in the tropical free troposphere on a continental scale (Zha et al., 2023). Another study performed in a Finnish peatland found pure biogenic NPF initiated by highly oxygenated organic molecules (HOM) in a special environment with minimal sulfur or nitrogen oxide pollution, essentially a shallow and stable surface layer of air above peatland that likely
resembles the pre-industrial atmosphere (Huang et al., in review). In this seminar, I will show a detailed analysis of the particle evolution during nucleation and the chemical composition of the small clusters measured with advanced mass spectrometers. I will also show that these processes are potentially very interesting to understand the aerosol conditions in the pre-industrial era where information are really scarse. Finally, I will give some insights regarding the
latest results obtained by the measurements done over the Amazon and in a Finnish Peatland where we have found the presence of biogenic vapors forming new particles as the possible nucleation mechanism in the pre-industrial time.

Short Biography:
Federico Bianchi, born in Bergamo, Italy, in 1984, graduated in chemistry from the University of Milan and received his PhD in atmospheric chemistry from Paul Scherrer Institute and ETH Zürich in 2014. From 2015 to 2018 he was a postdoc, first at ETH Zürich, and from 2016 at the University of Helsinki, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. In 2018, he was appointed Assistant Professor, and after being awarded with an ERC starting grant in 2019, Associate Professor. Since 2023 he is a full professor on atmosphere and cryosphere interactions at the University of Helsinki. He has won several awards, among which the Arne Richter Award from the European Geophysical Union for Outstanding Early Career Scientists in 2017, and the Schmauss Award in 2021. His research focuses on the formation of atmospheric new particles from the pristine free troposphere to polluted megacities.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free
  • This event is internal


  • EESS - IIE


  • Prof. Athanasios Nenes, LAPI


Pre-Industrial Atmosphere New Particle Formation Free troposphere Natural Emissions Mass Spectrometry VOC