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Journal Articles Atmospheric Research Year : 2005

Aerosol studies during the ESCOMPTE experiment: an overview

Marc Mallet
Angela Marinoni
Cathy Liousse
Eric Gardrat
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Corinne Galy-Lacaux
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  • PersonId : 1082877


The “Expérience sur Site pour COntraindre les Modèles de Pollution atmosphérique et de Transport d'Emissions” (ESCOMPTE) experiment took place in the Southern part of France in the Marseilles/Fos-Berre region during 6 weeks in June and July 2001. One task was to document the regional sources of atmospheric particles and to gain some insight into the aerosol transformations in the atmosphere. For this purpose, seven sites were chosen and equipped with the same basic instrumentation to obtain the chemical closure of the bulk aerosol phase and size-segregated samples. Some specific additional experiments were conducted for the speciation of the organic matter and the aerosol size distribution in number. Finally, four multiwavelength sun-photometers were also deployed during the experiment. Interestingly, in this region, three intense aerosol sources (urban, industrial and biogenic) are very active, and data show consistent results, enlightening an important background of particles over the whole ESCOMPTE domain. Notable is the overwhelming importance of the carbonaceous fraction (comprising primary and secondary particles), which is always more abundant than sulphates. Particle size studies show that, on average, more than 90% of the mean regional aerosol number is found on a size range smaller than 300 nm in diameter. The most original result is the evidence of the rapid formation of secondary aerosols occurring in the whole ESCOMPTE domain. This formation is much more important than that usually observed at these latitudes since two thirds of the particulate mass collected off source zones is estimated to be generated during atmospheric transport. On the other hand, the marine source has poor influence in the region, especially during the overlapping pollution events of Intensive Observation Periods (IOP). Preliminary results from the 0D and 3D versions of the MesoNH-aerosol model show that, with optimised gas and particle sources, the model accounts satisfactorily for the measured aerosol concentrations. The formation of secondary particles in the model is currently underway; initial encouraging results show that the model accounts for the formation of secondary species, such as sulphate and organic particles. Finally, radiative calculations suggest that the role of the fine aerosol fraction is predominant mostly due to the presence of black carbon (BC) particles, which could induce a regional atmospheric heating.

Dates and versions

hal-02017119 , version 1 (13-02-2019)



Hélène Cachier, Fabien Aulagnier, Roland Sarda-Esteve, François Gautier, Pierre Masclet, et al.. Aerosol studies during the ESCOMPTE experiment: an overview. Atmospheric Research, 2005, 74 (1-4), pp.547-563. ⟨10.1016/j.atmosres.2004.06.013⟩. ⟨hal-02017119⟩
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