Near-highway aerosol and gas-phase measurements in a high-diesel environment


  • Dewitt Hl.
  • Hellebust S
  • Temime-Roussel B
  • Ravier S
  • Polo L
  • Jacob V
  • Buisson C
  • Charron A
  • André M
  • Pasquier A
  • Besombes Jean-Luc
  • Jaffrezo Jean-Luc
  • Wortham Henri
  • Marchand Nicolas

document type



Diesel-powered passenger cars currently outnumber gasoline-powered cars in many countries, particularly in Europe. In France, diesel cars represented 61 % of light duty vehicles in 2011 and this percentage is still increasing (French Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME). As part of the September 2011 joint PM-DRIVE (Particulate Matter – DiRect and Indirect on-road Vehicular Emissions) and MOCOPO (Measuring and mOdeling traffic COngestion and POllution) field campaign, the concentration and high-resolution chemical composition of aerosols and volatile organic carbon species were measured adjacent to a major urban highway south of Grenoble, France. Alongside these atmospheric measurements, detailed traffic data were collected from nearby traffic cameras and loop detectors , which allowed the vehicle type, traffic concentration , and traffic speed to be quantified. Six aerosol age and source profiles were resolved using the positive matrix fac-torization model on real-time high-resolution aerosol mass spectra. These six aerosol source/age categories included a hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA) commonly associated with primary vehicular emissions, a nitrogen-containing aerosol with a diurnal pattern similar to that of HOA, oxidized organic aerosol (OOA), and biomass burning aerosol. While quantitatively separating the influence of diesel from that of gasoline proved impossible, a low HOA : black carbon ratio, similar to that measured in other high-diesel environments , and high levels of NO x , also indicative of diesel emissions, were observed. Although the measurement site was located next to a large source of primary emissions, which are typically found to have low oxygen incorporation , OOA was found to comprise the majority of the measured organic aerosol, and isotopic analysis showed that the measured OOA contained mainly modern carbon, not fossil-derived carbon. Thus, even in this heavily vehicular-emission-impacted environment, photochemical processes, biogenic emissions, and aerosol oxidation dominated the overall organic aerosol mass measured during most of the campaign.

more information