10-Month characterization of the aerosol number size distribution and related air quality and meteorology at the Bondville, IL Midwestern background site

Robert L. Bullard, Ashish Singh, Sybil M. Anderson, Christopher M.B. Lehmann, Charles O. Stanier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aerosol size distribution was measured at a rural continental U.S. location (Bondville, Illinois 40.05N and 88.37W) for the period July 2013–June 2014. The dehumidified size distribution in the range 3 nm to 2.5 μm was continuously recorded by two scanning mobility particle sizers and an aerodynamic particle sizer. The Illinois measurement site is significant because it is home to one of the longest records (20+ years) in North America of atmospheric aerosol, meteorology, and gas phase variables. It is a common site for model-measurement comparison of both chemical and aerosol microphysical variables. However, while the measurement record has aerosol number concentration and optical properties, the number size distribution has not been well-constrained. Measurement highlights include means in number concentration (3–2500 nm), aerosol optical depth, SO2, NH3, and PM2.5of 6500 cm−3, 0.18, 0.87 ppb, 1.6 ppb, and 8.8 μg m−3, respectively. The mode in the mean size distribution was 31 nm (number) and 287 nm (volume). The mean size distribution was heavily influenced by nuclei mode particles, with 46% of particles smaller than 20 nm. New particle formation and growth events increase midday concentrations of 3–50 nm particles substantially, with the highest activity in spring months and lower activity in summer and winter. Short term elevations in particle number and mass associated with local agricultural burning in April are reported as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-361
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Air quality
  • Bondville
  • Nucleation
  • Number size distribution
  • PM
  • Ultrafine particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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