Aerosol sources in the western Mediterranean during summertime: a model-based approach


  • Chrit Mounir
  • Sartelet Karine
  • Sciare Jean
  • Pey Jorge
  • Nicolas José B.
  • Marchand Nicolas
  • Freney Evelyn
  • Sellegri Karine
  • Beekmann Matthias
  • Dulac François


  • ChArMEx

document type



In the framework of ChArMEx (the Chemistry-Aerosol Mediterranean Experiment), the air quality model Polyphemus is used to understand the sources of inorganic and organic particles in the western Mediterranean and evaluate the uncertainties linked to the model parameters (mete-orological fields, anthropogenic and sea-salt emissions and hypotheses related to the model representation of conden-sation/evaporation). The model is evaluated by comparisons to in situ aerosol measurements performed during three consecutive summers (2012, 2013 and 2014). The model-to-measurement comparisons concern the concentrations of PM 10 , PM 1 , organic matter in PM 1 (OM 1) and inorganic aerosol concentrations monitored at a remote site (Ersa) on Corsica Island, as well as airborne measurements performed above the western Mediterranean Sea. Organic particles are mostly from biogenic origin. The model parameterization of sea-salt emissions has been shown to strongly influence the concentrations of all particulate species (PM 10 , PM 1 , OM 1 and inorganic concentrations). Although the emission of organic matter by the sea has been shown to be low, organic concentrations are influenced by sea-salt emissions; this is owing to the fact that they provide a mass onto which gaseous hydrophilic organic compounds can condense. PM 10 , PM 1 , OM 1 are also very sensitive to meteorology, which affects not only the transport of pollutants but also natural emissions (biogenic and sea salt). To avoid large and unrealistic sea-salt concentrations, a parameterization with an adequate wind speed power law is chosen. Sulfate is shown to be strongly influenced by anthropogenic (ship) emissions. PM 10 , PM 1 , OM 1 and sulfate concentrations are better described using the emission inventory with the best spatial description of ship emissions (EDGAR-HTAP). However, this is not true for nitrate, ammonium and chloride concentrations, which are very dependent on the hypotheses used in the model regarding condensation/evaporation. Model simulations show that sea-salt aerosols above the sea are not mixed with background transported aerosols. Taking the mixing state of particles with a dynamic approach to condensation/evaporation into account may be necessary to accurately represent inorganic aerosol concentrations.

more information