Characterizing the sources of ambient PM10 organic aerosol in urban and rural Catalonia, Spain


  • In 'T Veld Marten
  • Khare Peeyush
  • Hao Yufang
  • Reche Cristina
  • Pérez Noemi
  • Alastuey Andres
  • Yus-Díez Jesús
  • Marchand Nicolas
  • Prevot Andre S.H.
  • Querol Xavier
  • Daellenbach Kaspar

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Organic aerosols (OA) have recently been shown to be the dominant contributor to the oxidative potential of airborne particulate matter in northeastern Spain. We collected PM10 filter samples every fourth day from January 2017 to March 2018 at two sampling stations located in Barcelona city and Montseny Natural Park, representing urban and rural areas, respectively. The chemical composition of PM10 was analyzed offline using a broad set of analytical instruments, including high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry (HR-ToF-AMS), a total organic carbon analyzer (TCA), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), ion chromatography (IC), and thermal-optical carbon analyzer. Source apportionment analysis of the water-soluble organic content of the samples measured via HR-ToF-AMS revealed two primary and two secondary sources of OA, which included biomass-burning OA (BBOA), sulfur-containing OA (SCOA), as well as summer- and winter‑oxygenated OA (SOOA and WOOA). The presence of hydrocarbon-like water-insoluble OA was also identified based on concentration trends in black carbon and nitrogen oxides. The results from the source apportionment analysis of the inorganic composition were correlated with different OA factors to assess potential source contributors. Barcelona showed significantly higher average water-soluble OA concentrations (5.63 ± 0.56 μg m-3) than Montseny (3.27 ± 0.37 μg m-3) over the sampling period. WOOA accounted for nearly 27 % of the averaged OA in Barcelona compared to only 7 % in Montseny. In contrast, SOOA had a greater contribution to OA in Montseny (47 %) than in Barcelona (24 %). SCOA and BBOA were responsible for 15–28 % of the OA at both sites. There were also seasonal variations in the relative contributions of different OA sources. Our overall results showed that local anthropogenic sources were primarily responsible for up to 70 % of ambient soluble OA in Barcelona, and regulating local-scale emissions could significantly improve air quality in urban Spain.

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