Identification of volatile organic compounds and their sources driving ozone and secondary organic aerosol formation in NE Spain


  • In 'T Veld Marten
  • Seco Roger
  • Reche Cristina
  • Pérez Noemi
  • Alastuey Andres
  • Estrada-Portillo Miguel
  • Janssens Ivan
  • Peñuelas Josep
  • Fernandez-Martinez Marcos
  • Marchand Nicolas
  • Temime-Roussel Brice
  • Querol Xavier
  • Yáñez-Serrano Ana Maria

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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play a crucial role in the formation of ozone (O3) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA). We conducted measurements of VOC ambient mixing ratios during both summer and winter at two stations: a Barcelona urban background station (BCN) and the Montseny rural background station (MSY). Subsequently, we employed positive matrix factorization (PMF) to analyze the VOC mixing ratios and identify their sources. Our analysis revealed five common sources: anthropogenic I (traffic & industries); anthropogenic II (traffic & biomass burning); isoprene oxidation; monoterpenes; long-lifetime VOCs. To assess the impact of these VOCs on the formation of secondary pollutants, we calculated the ozone formation potential (OFP) and secondary organic aerosol formation potential (SOAP) associated with each VOC. In conclusion, our study provides insights into the sources of VOCs and their contributions to the formation of ozone and SOA in NE Spain. The OFP was primarily influenced by anthropogenic aromatic compounds from the traffic & industries source at BCN (38–49 %) and during winter at MSY (34 %). In contrast, the summer OFP at MSY was primarily driven by biogenic contributions from monoterpenes and isoprene oxidation products (45 %). Acetaldehyde (10–35 %) and methanol (13–14 %) also made significant OFP contributions at both stations. Anthropogenic aromatic compounds originating from traffic, industries, and biomass burning played a dominant role (88–93 %) in SOA formation at both stations during both seasons. The only exception was during the summer at MSY, where monoterpenes became the primary driver of SOA formation (41 %). These findings emphasize the importance of considering both anthropogenic and biogenic VOCs in air quality management strategies.

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