Characterization and sources of atmospheric particles in different population density environments

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Date

2013-12-06

Authors

Πικριδάς, Μιχαήλ

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Abstract

In order to reduce uncertainty of atmospheric particle emissions and to examine the mechanism of new particle formation from precursor gases, measurements were conducted in a megacity (Paris, France), an urban area (Patras, Greece) and a remote location (Finokalia, Greece). At Finokalia, the composition of particles with diameter smaller than 1 μm (PM1) depended on air mass origin. The highest concentrations, and most frequent, were observed when air masses were coming from Europe. Organic aerosol was found to be 80% water soluble and the increased organic to elemental carbon ratio correlated with ozone concentration. These findings indicate that particulate matter (PM) at Finokalia was not emitted near the site but was transported from source regions hunderd of kilometers away and thus the area can be considered as a background of Europe. At Finokalia, atmospheric nucleation was observed more frequently during winter when sunlight intensity was below average and favored by air masses that crossed land before reaching the site. This behavior was explained by ammonia involvement in the nucleation process. PM1 was mainly acidic during summer and consumed all available ammonia, contrary to winter when, due to the lower sunlight intensity, particles were neutral and ammonia was available. During both seasons nucleation would only occur if particles were neutral which resulted in higher frequency of events during winter. Air masses that crossed land before reaching the site were enriched with ammonia, thus it was more likely for nucleation to occur. Number size distributions were monitored in Paris, France at fixed and mobile ground stations along with airborne measurements. The Paris plume was identified at a distance of at least 200 km from the city center and the number concentration was found to increase even by a 3-fold when air masses crossed Paris. During summer nucleation was observed approximately half of the campaign days; when the condensational sink was lower than average contrary to winter when no event was identified due to higher sink. Increased number concentration was observed at an altitude outside of the Paris plume simultaneously with new particle formation observed on the ground and was attributed to that phenomenon. At Patras, the legislated by E.U. daily PM10 standards were found to be violated. Exceedances were more frequent (58 of a total of 75) during the colder months (October to March) of the year. The warmer months (April to September) 80% of the PM2.5 was transported from other areas. Contrary during the colder months the contribution of transported PM reduced to 70% during autumn and 50% during winter, when the highest concentrations were observed on average. Local traffic contributed approximately 15% during winter and the remaining 35% was primarily due to domestic heating. PM2.5 and PM1 concentrations were found to exceed 100 μg m-3 on several occasions during nighttime due to domestic heating, either diesel or biomass combustion. Potassium, a tracer of biomass combustion, correlated well (R2=0.79) with PM2.5 during winter indicating a biomass source. Potassium concentrations were higher within the urban premises than a rural area located 36 km away from the city, indicating that at least a portion of the biomass combustion related PM2.5 were emitted locally.

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Atmospheric nucleation, Source characterization Patras, Source characterization Finokalia, Atmospheric aerosols, Air suspended particles, Eastern Mediterranean aerosols

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