Siberian aerosol measurements at Fonovaya station

Not so long time ago, the Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), University of Helsinki, started a new measurement campaign in the boreal forest of Siberia. The measurements are taking place at station Fonovaya, Tomsk region. I’ve worked at this station for two weeks, and that is why I want to tell you a few things about it.

The Fonovaya station was established in 2009 by the Institute of Atmospheric Optics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science (IAO SB RAS). The desire for building this station was strong. Russian observation infrastructure is very sparse. In fact, it consisted of only two observatories: the Zotino Tall Tower Observatory (ZOTTO) and the Tiksi Hydrometeorological Observatory. This is definitely not enough to cover the huge area of Russia.

The Fonovaya station is located in West Siberia. It is not far from Tomsk (a half-a-million city), the distance is about 50 km as the crow flies. Another close big city is Novosibirsk (more than 1 million people), located in 170 km from the station. Even though there are big cities nearby, the influence of urbanization on the atmosphere in the station’s area is very small and can be neglected. The nature around the station is perfect: amazing boreal forest, gorgeous Ob river (one of the largest rivers in the world, by the way), and armies of mosquitoes, striving for your fresh blood.

Nowadays, measurements of atmospheric composition and other parameters in West Siberia take place at the Fonovaya station. There are several types of measurements there, such as gas analysis, aerosol measurements, and meteorology.

Our experiment is strongly connected with aerosol measurements. This year, we delivered NAIS (Neutral cluster and Air Ion Spectrometer) and PSM (Particle Size Magnifier) to measure small particle concentrations and to reveal New Particle Formation (NPF) events. According to our knowledge from the SMEAR II station in Hyytiälä, Finland, the NPF events should be very common in boreal forest areas. However, the experiments under way at the Fonovaya station show us that NPF events are rare in Siberia, and we want to understand why.

Aerosol measurements at the Fonovaya station are carried out since 2011. They are performed by means of the Diffusional Particle Sizer (DPS) which is used to measure the size distribution of particles below 200 nm. Aerosol particles within the size range from 0.3 micrometers to 20 micrometers are measured with the Optical Particle Counter (OPC). The observations of the black carbon (BC) content of aerosols are done by means of the Model 5012 multi-angle absorption photometer. Also, there is the PhAN-A photoelectric aerosol nephelometer (Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant, Russia) modified and improved at IAO SB RAS that is used for in situ observations of the aerosol scattering coefficient. There is also a lidar installed at the Fonovaya station, with which we are able to observe such atmospheric parameters as the vertical aerosol and cloud distributions as well as boundary layer heights.

With all the above instruments, we are able to measure different aerosol properties in the Siberian boreal forest.

INAR in cooperation with IAO SB RAS are going to improve and develop continuous observations in West Siberia further. We hope that this collaboration will have great results and be very important for the world atmospheric science.

Text by Anastasiia Demakova, INAR/Univeristy of Helsinki with the help of Mikhail Arshinov and Anton Golovanov.

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