Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 12323-12365, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Spatial variation of chemical composition and sources of submicron aerosol in Zurich: factor analysis of mobile aerosol mass spectrometer data
C. Mohr1, R. Richter1, P. F. DeCarlo1,*, A. S. H. Prévôt1, and U. Baltensperger1
1Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), Villigen, Switzerland
*now at: AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow hosted at the US EPA, Washington DC, USA

Abstract. Mobile measurements of PM1 (PM with an aerodynamic diameter D<1 μm) chemical composition using a quadrupole aerosol mass spectrometer and a multi-angle absorption photometer were performed using the PSI mobile laboratory during winter 2007/2008 and December 2008 in the metropolitan area of Zurich, Switzerland. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) applied to the organic fraction of PM1 yielded 3 factors: Hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA) related to traffic emissions; organic aerosol from wood burning for domestic heating purposes (WBOA); and oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA), assigned to secondary organic aerosol formed by oxidation of volatile precursors. The spatial variation of the chemical composition of PM1 shows a uniform distribution throughout the city: for primary emissions, road traffic is important along major roads (varying between 7 and 14% of PM1 for different sites within the city), but overall, domestic wood burning is more important for the organic aerosol concentrations in Zurich during winter time (varying between 8–15% of PM1 for different sites within the city). OOA makes up the largest fraction of organic aerosol (44% on average). A new method, based on simultaneous on-road mobile and stationary background measurements and using the ratio of on-road sulfate to stationary sulfate to correct for small-scale dynamic effects, allows for the separation of PM1 emitted or produced locally and the PM1 from the regional background. It could be shown that especially during thermal inversions over the Swiss plateau, regional background concentrations contribute substantially to particulate number concentrations (60% on average) as well as to the concentrations of PM1 components (on average 60% for black carbon and HOA, over 97% for WBOA and OOA, and more than 94% for the measured inorganic components) in downtown Zurich. The results emphasize, on a scientific level, the advantage of mobile measurements for distinguishing local from regional air pollution, and on a political level, the importance of regional collaboration for mitigating air pollution issues.

Citation: Mohr, C., Richter, R., DeCarlo, P. F., Prévôt, A. S. H., and Baltensperger, U.: Spatial variation of chemical composition and sources of submicron aerosol in Zurich: factor analysis of mobile aerosol mass spectrometer data, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 12323-12365, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-12323-2011, 2011.
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