University of Oulu

Jussi Malila (2018) On the early studies recognizing the role of sulphuric acid in atmospheric haze and new particle formation, Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 70:1, 1-11, DOI: 10.1080/16000889.2018.1471913

On the early studies recognizing the role of sulphuric acid in atmospheric haze and new particle formation

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Author: Malila, Jussi1,2
Organizations: 1Department of Applied Physics, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
2Nano and Molecular Systems Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-06-12


Atmospheric aerosols have been a subject to scientific interest at least since the Age of Enlightenment, including theories concerning the origins of atmospheric haze and dust. Early studies associated haze with geological sources — earthquakes and volcanism — which were believed to be related to the chemistry of sulphuric compounds. Thus, sulphuric acid became the strongest candidate to explain atmospheric new particle formation. The idea was carried over when the first quantitative studies of condensation nuclei and atmospheric chemistry took place during the later part of the 19th century. Laboratory and field measurements by von Helmholtz, Aitken, Kiessling, and Barus, among others, a century ago led to the conclusion that widespread new particle formation occurs in the atmosphere and is caused by sulphuric acid together with water and ammonia — a viewpoint, which has been rediscovered and expanded during the past 25 years.

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Series: Tellus. Series B, Chemical and physical meteorology
ISSN: 0280-6509
ISSN-E: 1600-0889
ISSN-L: 0280-6509
Volume: 70
Issue: 1
Pages: 1 - 11
DOI: 10.1080/16000889.2018.1471913
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
Funding: This work was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation program [grant agreement No. 717022].
EU Grant Number: (717022) SURFACE - The unexplored world of aerosol surfaces and their impacts.
Copyright information: © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.