Impact of secondary inorganic aerosol and road traffic at a suburban air quality monitoring station

  • L. Megido /
  • L. Negral /
  • L. Castrillón /
  • Y. Fernández-Nava /
  • B. Suárez-Peña /
  • E. Marañón
Journal ar
Journal of Environmental Management
  • Volumen: 189
  • Fecha: 15 marzo 2017
  • Páginas: 36-45
  • ISSN: 10958630 03014797
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2016.12.032
  • Tipo de documento: Artículo
  • Editorial: Academic Press
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd PM10 from a suburban site in the northwest of Spain was assessed using data from chemical determinations, meteorological parameters, aerosol maps and five-day back trajectories of air masses. Temporal variations in the chemical composition of PM10 were subsequently related to stationary/mobile local sources and long-range transport stemming from Europe and North Africa. The presence of secondary inorganic species (sulphates, nitrates and ammonium) in airborne particulate matter constituted one of the main focuses of this study. These chemical species formed 16.5% of PM10 on average, in line with other suburban background sites in Europe. However, a maximum of 47.8% of PM10 were recorded after several days under the influence of European air masses. Furthermore, the highest values of these three chemical species coincided with episodes of poor air circulation and influxes of air masses from Europe. The relationship between SO4 2- and NH4 + (R2 = 0.57, p-value<0.01) was found to improve considerably in summer and spring (R2 = 0.88 and R2 = 0.87, respectively, p-value<0.01), whereas NO3 ¿ and NH4 + (R2 = 0.55, p-value<0.01) reproduced this pattern in winter (R2 = 0.91, p-value<0.01). The application of a receptor model to the dataset led to the identification of notable apportionments due to road traffic and other types of combustion processes. In fact, large amounts of particulate matter were released to the atmosphere during episodes of biomass burning in forest fires. On isolated days, combustion was estimated to contribute up to 21.0 ¿g PM/m3 (50.8% of PM10). The contribution from industrial processes to this source is also worth highlighting given the presence of Ni and Co in its profile. Furthermore, African dust outbreaks at the sampling site, characterised by an arc through the Atlantic Ocean, were usually associated with a higher concentration of Al2O3 in PM10. Results evidenced the relevance of stationary (i.e., steelworks and thermal power station) and mobile sources in the air quality at the suburban site under study, with important apportionments of particulate matter coming from road traffic and as consequence of releasing precursor gases of secondary particles to the atmosphere.

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